Closing Ceremony 2012: Breaking Down the Best Moments of London's Farewell

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2012

Closing Ceremony 2012: Breaking Down the Best Moments of London's Farewell

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    The 2012 Summer Olympics came to its conclusion Sunday evening. There were no more medals to hand out, but there was still plenty of celebrating to do.

    London's Closing Ceremony was a celebration to say the least.

    It's always bittersweet to see the Olympics come to a close, but London's Closing Ceremony did an excellent job. The music was exciting, the showmanship was flawless, and the creativity shone through in each and every moment of Sunday night's nearly three-hour celebration.

    Let's recap the best moments from this year's Olympic farewell.

Announcement of Royalty

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    Prince Harry and Kate Middleton were given prime seats next to the President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, for the 2012 closing.

    This, of course, isn't a surprise. These "power" people made an appearance at London's Opening Ceremony, and they've been spotted randomly throughout the Olympic Games.

    Kicking Sunday night's ceremony off by announcing two of the world's biggest names was a perfect way to start the evening.

Arrival of Athletes

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    Everything up to this point was just a warmup. The Olympic Games are about a number of things, but the athletes are the ones who everyone comes to see.

    It's different seeing these athletes in the Opening Ceremony, or even in the heat of competition. At this point, regardless of their finish, these athletes all seem happy.

    The pressure was gone, and the Olympics are steeped in nationalism, but it was touching to see British fans cheer every athlete (like they did throughout the Games).

    You don't truly understand the sheer number of participants until you see them like this. We saw it during the Opening Ceremony, but the sense of relief didn't accompany it.

    Here, the athletes were able to simply enjoy the festivities.

303 White Boxes

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    This was a perfect touch.

    After the athletes arrived in Olympic Stadium, several white boxes became visible. We then learned that there were 303 to be exact, one for each Olympic event. 

    This was accompanied with an outstanding highlight reel of Olympic action, allowing those around the world to briefly relive this summer's magical moments.

    As you can see in the picture, the boxes were all used to create a giant structure on center stage. This symbolized the unity associated with the Olympic Games, and it was executed to perfection.

Symphony of British Music

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    This was what many people were waiting for: the catalog of British music runs unfathomably deep, and London's Closing Ceremony did an excellent job of capturing its essence.

    The symphony began with a remastered version of John Lennon's masterpiece "Imagine." We then embarked on a journey that took us through classics from artists like Queen, The Who and Pink Floyd.

    Then things started getting weird. Russell Brand entered to the tune of Willy Wonka aboard a painted bus and proceeded to sing The Beatles' classic "I Am the Walrus."

    Brand was followed by Fatboy Slim's famous house song "Right Here, Right Now." I have to say, Olympic Stadium went wild for this one. The song is popular and Fatboy Slim has a major reputation in the United Kingdom.

    There were other artists and other songs as well, but these are the ones that stick out in my mind. All of the athletes had already arrived and everyone was in good spirits for the most fun part of the evening.

Olympic Anthem

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    This was the first step in passing the Olympic torch to Brazil for 2016. The London Welsh Male Voice Choir entered Olympic Stadium to deliver a stunning performance of the Olympic anthem.

    I'd try to sing it for you, but you wouldn't be able to hear me—nor would you want to. 

    The Closing Ceremony was mostly about fun and entertainment, but the passing of the torch is wrought with tradition. The process is to be followed to a tee and London's committee made a great choice here.

    The choir did an outstanding job of kicking this important process off.

Passing of the Flag

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    Brazil will become the first South American country to host the Olympic Games in 2016. 

    That honor was already bestowed on them prior to the London Games, but that doesn't mean it was official. Jacques Rogge changed that by officially handing over the Olympic flag to Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro.

    After Paes waved the flag, the crowd cheered and the Brazilian flag was raised. This officially handed the Olympic reins over and marked the end of London's wonderful run as a host city.

Sebastian Coe's Speech

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    Coe is the chairman of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and it was his responsibility to tie everything together at the end. 

    This wasn't the fun or exciting part, but it was definitely touching. Coe reached the hearts of everyone in the stadium by thanking every single person involved and reassuring Brits that London did a magnificent job of hosting the Summer Olympics.

    You know you make a great speech when you have to pause several times for the applause to die down. Coe wrapped things up well, and he made a friend out of every London native in attendance.

Jacques Rogge's Final Olympic Speech

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    This wouldn't normally be on here, but it was Rogge's final moment as President of the International Olympic Committee. He's the organization's eighth president, but won't be eligible for another term in 2013.

    The Belgian sports administrator has overseen Olympic Games, both summer and winter, since he was elected in 2001. He made sure he ended his reign on a high note by delivering a heartfelt speech to the London crowd.

    He made sure praise went where it was due and it was a fitting end to his successful reign. Rogge closed the Closing Ceremony by thanking London amid massive cheers.