Video – Beijing Olympics come to an end
The Olympic Games have drawn to a close with a glittering ceremony inside Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium.
Spectacular fireworks kicked off the proceedings, while a beautifully
choreographed drumming and dancing display recalled the opening
It was a more celebratory affair, as exuberant athletes, dancers and musicians got into the party spirit.
The Olympic flag was handed to London mayor Boris Johnson, with organisers briefly showcasing the 2012 Games.
The countdown to 2012 has started, and organisers will know they have a
great deal to live up to with China hosting one of the best organised
Games in history and staging some of the most memorable opening and
closing ceremonies ever seen.
BBC Sport’s Tom Fordyce in Beijing
got under way with a magnificent firework display, which quickly segued
into an amazing display of dancing and drumming.
Scottish cyclist Chris Hoy, who claimed three gold medals
in Beijing, carried the flag for Team GB as the 205 flag bearers led
the way for the thousands of athletes.
After speeches from Liu Qi, president of the Beijing
Organising Committee, and International Olympic Committee president
Jacques Rogge, the Beijing Games were officially declared to be over.
China staged the Olympics against a background
dominated by fears of pollution, worries over security and protests
about its human rights record.
But the sporting action was enthralling, with
highlights including Michael Phelps swimming to a record eight gold
medals and Jamaica’s Usain Bolt breaking three world records on his way
to three golds.
"We have come to the end of 16 days which we will cherish forever," said Rogge.
"New stars were born and stars from previous Games continued to amaze us.
"We shared their joys and their tears and marvelled at their abilities, and will long remember their achievements here.
"These were a truly exceptional Games."
before Johnson was handed the Olympic flag from Guo Jinlong, the major
of Beijing, and Rogge.
It heralded the start of an eight-minute segment for
London organisers to offer a flavour of the 2012 Games, as a red London
bus arrived into the stadium.
Hoy, dressed up as a city gent, and fellow British
cyclists Victoria Pendleton and Jamie Staff accompanied the bus on
bicycles alongside a troupe of dancers holding umbrellas.
Singer Leona Lewis and former Led Zeppelin guitarist
Jimmy Page emerged as the bus transformed into a grass-covered carnival
float, and the pair combined for a rendition of "Whole Lotta Love".
And the biggest star turn came when former Manchester
United star and England captain David Beckham arrived to kick a
football into the crowd of athletes.
The Olympic flame was then extinguished, before the attention shifted to a "memory tower" in the centre of the stadium.
Legendary Spanish tenor Placido Domingo and Chinese soprano Song Zuying
joined forces to sing, while Hollywood actor Jackie Chan later joined a
throng of dancers and singers for a closing number.
The sporting action was finally brought to an end
earlier in the day, with France’s men claiming gold in the final of the
It was the 302nd and last gold medal to be awarded,
and followed Sunday’s finals in boxing, basketball, volleyball and
water polo, while Kenya’s Sammy Wanjiru won the men’s marathon.
Story from BBC SPORT: