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 London bids adieu with musical madness

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مُساهمةموضوع: London bids adieu with musical madness   13.08.12 11:29











London bade a flamboyant and madcap farewell to the Olympic Games
with a romp through British pop and fashion, bringing the curtain down
on more than two weeks of action that ended with America topping the
sporting world with 46 gold medals.
There was another sellout crowd at the 80,000-capacity athletics
stadium in east London late on Sunday for the final act of the
tournament, and 300 million people were expected to tune in on
televisions around the world.

Actor Timothy Spall read from Shakespeare's "The Tempest" dressed as
war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and after a London "rush
hour" featuring real cars and trucks, Prince Harry entered to represent
his grandmother Queen Elizabeth.

The Spice Girls, Take That and George Michael were among the acts
taking part in an exuberant finale that sought to sum up Britain's
enthusiasm for the Games despite reservations about the 9 billion pound
($14 billion) cost.

During a special eight-minute segment, the stadium was bathed in the
colours and sounds of Brazil, as the Olympics looked ahead to 2016 when
Rio de Janeiro is the host city.



But on Sunday and into the early hours of Monday it was time for
London to say goodbye, and comedian Stephen Fry summed up the mood of
many when he took to Twitter and wrote: "I don't want it to end *sob*
*stamps foot*"

The circus-style ceremony was set to a British soundtrack of the last
50 years, featuring classic songs by Queen, the Kinks, the Beatles,
Pink Floyd and more, and specially designed "pixel boxes" on every seat
provided a spectacular light show.

It was always going to be a celebration for those in the stadium,
rather than the showcase of the opening ceremony that featured a movie
cameo by the queen and was a tribute to British history, culture and
society in a message to the world.



NEXT GENERATION

The Who had the final word with "My Generation", an echo of the
London 2012 motto which was "Inspire a Generation" as organisers and the
government strive to ensure a lasting legacy that goes beyond expensive
white elephants and unpaid bills.

Fulfilling promises of a "cheeky" and "cheesy" close, Eric Idle of
Monty Python sang "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life", there was a
giant inflatable octopus and a real-life human cannon ball flew through
the air.

The Olympic flag was handed to Eduardo Paes, Rio's mayor, before
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge described the
London Games as "happy and glorious" and declared them closed - the
words taken from Britain's national anthem to the queen.

The Olympic Flame was extinguished, fireworks filled the sky, the
athletes walked off and Britain prepared to return to the reality of an
economic recession temporarily buried in the inside pages of the
newspapers.

The main stadium was the setting for some of the most spectacular
moments of the Games, including Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt
defending the 100, 200 and 4x100 metres titles he won in Beijing, the
latter in a world-beating time.

British supporters will also cherish memories of the venue, where
Somali-born runner Mo Farah won the 5,000 and 10,000 double to deafening
roars and was celebrated as a symbol of the capital's
multi-culturalism.

The hosts won 29 golds to take third place in the rankings, their
best result for 104 years, helping lift a nation beset by severe
spending cuts and worried about social stability a year after violent
riots swept parts of the capital.

U.S. President Barack Obama called British Prime Minister David
Cameron to congratulate the country on what he called "an extremely
successful Olympic games, which speaks to the character and spirit of
our close ally".



PHENOMENAL PHELPS

Many will remember London 2012 for the record-breaking exploits of
American swimmer Michael Phelps, who took his life-time medal haul to 22
including 18 golds, making him the most decorated Olympian in history.

His tally helped the United States to the top of the Olympic table
with 46 golds to second-placed China's 38, reversing the order of the
Beijing Games in 2008.

There was, of course, Bolt, the biggest name in athletics and a charismatic ambassador for sprinting.

After winning the 4x100 he went on to a London nightclub to delight
dancing fans with a turn as a DJ, shouting out "I am a legend" to the
packed dancefloor.

Britons may recall Andy Murray demolishing world number one Roger
Federer at Wimbledon to win the men's singles tennis gold, while Jessica
Ennis, the "poster girl" of the Games, won the women's heptathlon on
the first "super Saturday".

Despite concerns about the creaky transport system and a shortfall of
private security guards, which forced the government to call in
thousands of extra troops to help screen visitors, the Games passed by
fairly trouble-free.

A furore over empty seats at several Olympic venues blew over,
especially once the track and field showcase kicked in and drew capacity
crowds for virtually every session.

Even the weather improved as the Games wore on. Bright sunshine
graced the closing weekend of a festival that has helped to lift spirits
in Britain.



TRIUMPH, TRAUMA

It was not all about triumph, however. Many tears shed by athletes
and the public were of sorrow, not joy, as medals were narrowly missed
and controversial decisions left athletes convinced they were wronged.

At the closing ceremony, a highlights video reel included images of
South Korea's Shin A Lam alone and distraught on the fencing piste after
a timekeeping error contributed to her defeat in an epee semi-final.

China's hero Liu Xiang suffered heartache again after crashing into
the first barrier of the 110 sprint hurdles four years after he withdrew
from the heats in Beijing due to injury.

Eight Asian badminton players were controversially expelled from the
Games after not trying hard enough to win matches, having broken the
spirit, but not the rules of their sport.

And China bowed out of the Games with a swipe at the critics who
accused teenage swimming sensation Ye Shiwen of doping after her times
rivalled the top U.S. men.

Aged just 16, Ye set a world record, a Games record and won two gold
medals in the women's individual medleys, but her victories were
overshadowed by questions and insinuations of cheating. There was no
evidence that she had broken any rules.

The head of the Chinese delegation to London, Liu Peng, said the accusations were totally unfounded.

"This is really unfair. This is groundless," Liu told a news
conference on Sunday. "There are individuals and media that are
accusing, unfounded, our Chinese athletes."


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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: London bids adieu with musical madness   13.08.12 13:22

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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: London bids adieu with musical madness   13.08.12 18:57

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