Aug 24

Britain’s final medal tally: Gold, 19; Silver, 13; Bronze, 15

BEIJING handed the Olympic flag to London today in a spectacular closing ceremony.


Rock legend Jimmy Page and singer Leona Lewis starred in the eight-minute slot for London, while footballer David Beckham was also involved.

Handover moment: X-Factor singer Leona Lewis performs in front of a 90,000-strong crowd

Stunning … Leona Lewis sings at Olympics

London mayor Boris Johnson received the Olympic flag in the handover ceremony, which featured a red London double decker bus driving around the Bird’s Nest stadium being pursued by Team GB cyclists Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade.

Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic Committee president, told the 91,000 people inside the Bird’s Nest stadium: “Tonight, we come to the end of 16 glorious days which we will cherish forever.

“Thank you to the people of China.”

PM Gordon Brown, who spoke yesterday of his hope that a UK football team could compete in the next Olympics, also attended the closing event.

Beckham, who kicked a football into the crowd during the ceremony said he believed the London Olympics in 2012 would be even better than the spectacular events this year. 

The England footballer said Team GB’s astonishing medal haul will spark a wave of interest in taking part in sport.

Beckham said: “I’m an East End boy and I’m proud that it’s happening in London. 

World Icon: David Beckham, Britain’s most famous world celebrity, celebrates the handover at the Bird’s Nest statium

Boot … David Beckham kicks a football at the closing ceremony

“I was very proud to be involved in the first place bringing it back to England and to London. It’s going to generate so much interest in sport and kids are already getting excited about it. 

“We have seen what the Chinese have done here and I’m sure we will better that, without a doubt.”

 Team GB won three more medals yesterday with boxer James DeGale leading the way by winning the men’s middleweight title. 

The 22-year-old Londoner came out on top in a hard-fought contest with Cuban Emilio Correa at the Workers’ Stadium. 

The boxer’s gold medal followed other success for British athletes on the penultimate day.

Kayaker Tim Brabants, who already has a gold from this summer’s Games, won bronze in the men’s 500m race while Sarah Stevenson took bronze in a dramatic +67kg taekwondo contest to become Britain’s first ever medallist in the sport. 

A good luck message from the Prime Minister was not enough to help Britain’s teenage diving sensation Tom Daley on to the podium. 

Daley, 14, from Plymouth, finished 7th in the 10 metre platform final at the Water Cube. 

Teen star: British diver Tom Daley, 14, looks relaxed during the closing ceremony

Team GB has had its most successful Olympics for a century.

 Britain currently lies in fourth place in the medal table behind China, USA and Russia, after notching up 19 gold medals, 13 silver and 15 bronze to make a total of 47 medals. 

The Queen today congratulated British and Commonwealth athletes for their success at the Beijing Olympics and said she was looking forward to the London Games in 2012.

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Finished … a magnificant fireworks display kicked off the Olympic closing ceremony

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Show … the closing ceremony set the standard for the London Games

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Farewell … the Bird’s Nest stadium has provided a fantastic arena for the Games

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Stage … Olympics has been great success

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Fireworks … great display to end the show

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Watching … Gordon Brown watches ceremony with his wife Sarah

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Amazing … gmynasts in the closing show

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Flame … the Olympic torch will now head to London

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Cycle … bikes in the ceremony

Wheel of joy: A performer wheels around the ceremony to leave the crowd delighted

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Bus … London start their eight minute section

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Handover … London Mayor Boris Johnson waves Olympic flag

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2012 … the baton has been passed

Workers erect a giant drum ready for the closing ceremony

Fireworks light up the sky as the countdown to the Games’ finale ends

A drummer performs near the Olympic flame

Dancers during a closing ceremony performance

Dancers during a closing ceremony performance

Drummers perform in the stadium

A close up of some of the performers in today’s showpiece

Entertainers perform during the closing ceremony

Flagbearers representing countries from around the world

Boris Johnson during the ceremony

A London bus is driven into the stadium

Leona Lewis performs during the closing ceremony

Participants perform during the closing ceremony

Performers during the ceremony

A close-up of performers on the ‘memory tower’

The festivities during the closing ceremony

Crowds in London celebrate as they watch a screen showing events in Beijing












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Aug 08

The 29th Olympics of the modern era is officially under way.

Chinese President Hu Jintao declared the Games open just after 1630 BST during a spectacular ceremony inside Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium.

Some 90,000 spectators gathered to see the extravaganza.

And a worldwide audience of up to four billion was watching the event on television.

A colourful, tightly-choreographed hour-long opening show portrayed China’s colourful history from ancient dynasties to modern superpower.

The parade of over 10,000 athletes was the culmination of a spectacular ceremony which saw the the Games of the XXIX Olympiad launched in stunning fashion.

Earlier, a burst of multi-coloured fireworks lit up the skyline around Beijing to herald the start of the ceremony.

“Friends have come from afar, how happy we are,” thousands of drummers chanted before the fireworks were set off.

Drumming up interest: Performers in the opening ceremony

At 8:08 and eight seconds local time, on the 8-8-2008 (can you guess China’s lucky number?), a mighty barrage of fireworks (made in China presumably) signalled the start of the spectacular showpiece in the Bird’s Nest stadium.

In a display which owed more to a CGI Hollywood blockbuster than a sporting event the 90,000 spectators were treated to battalions of performers drumming on what appeared to be thousands of coffee tables with new-rave lightsticks.

The iconic Olympic Rings, made up of thousands of fairylights, were suspended above the in-field before a tiny schoolgirl sang the Chinese national anthem before a few more thousand kilos of gunpowder lit up the night sky.

Times table: The drummers were a spectacular sight

The spectacular continued with 29 giant firework ‘footprints’ – representing the number of modern Olympic Games – from the centre of Beijing to the stadium.

Later the teams carried their flags into the stadium – with the British no doubt already wondering how the hell they are going to top this in London in 2012.

Taking flight: The Olympic Rings rose above the stadium

The sheer scale of the ceremony – a total of 10,300 performers took part – must have made it a daunting sight for the observers from the London 2012 organising committee.

The cost of the event must have been staggering, too, but the Chinese authorities have refused to say what the total bill for the opening ceremony is.


Making an entrance: Team GB enter the stadium



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