Rio Games end as Olympic flag handed over to Tokyo

Monday, 2016-08-22 10:37:57
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A blustery storm, a touch of melancholy and a sense of pride converged at the closing ceremony of the 2016 Olympics on Sunday as Brazil breathed a collective sigh of relief at having pulled off South America's first Games.

From the Maracana where it all began 16 days ago, the final event kicked off with figures dressed as multi-coloured macaws flying over Rio's world-famous landmarks, Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain, before forming the five Olympic rings.

Rain drenched performers and hundreds of athletes as they entered the party, many with medals hanging around their necks.

To the beat of traditional Brazilian music, Olympians danced and waved their countries' flags to celebrate their place on the world's premier sporting stage.

The city handed over the Olympic flag to Tokyo, site of the 2020 Summer Games, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared in the stadium dressed as popular video game character Mario, tunnelling from Tokyo to Rio.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach declared the Rio Games closed and expressed hope that they had left a lasting mark on the metropolitan area of 12 million people.

"These Olympic Games are leaving a unique legacy for generations to come," he said. "History will talk about a Rio de Janeiro before and a much better Rio de Janeiro after the Olympic Games."

REUTERS
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