Olympics ends with carnival flavour

Olympics ends with carnival flavour

Rio 2016: Baton handed over to Tokyo, hosts of 2020 edition of quadrennial event

Olympics ends with carnival flavour

On a night of rain and swirling winds, Rio bid adieu to the Games of the 31st Olympiad, treating the world to a captivating amalgam of dance and music.

At the magnificent Maracana stadium, 16 days of rivalry was forgotten as athletes partied away, revelling in the carnival-like atmosphere. Swaying to the rhythm of drums, hundreds of dancers kept the night warm even when the weather turned hostile, as Rio handed over the baton to Tokyo, the hosts of the next edition in 2020.

“We arrived in Brazil as guests. Tonight we depart as your friends. You will have a place in our hearts forever,” said International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, congratulating Brazil on organising the Games in tough times. In recognition of Rio’s efforts, Bach presented the Olympic Cup to Cariocas, the residents of the city, with six of its representatives receiving the prize.

Declaring the Games closed, Bach called upon the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in Tokyo to celebrate the next edition of the sporting festival. As the Olympic flame was extinguished, the Olympic flag was lowered and handed over to Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.

Human formations of Sugar Loaf mountain and the Olympic rings had earlier paved the way to a wonderful world of music and dance as Brazil’s art held centre stage.

In tune with the Olympic tradition, athletes then marched in together, with flag-bearers having made their entry first. Sakshi Malik, the wrestler who broke India’s duck at these Games with a bronze medal, carried the Tricolour.

Super Mario
Tokyo’s brief presentation, marked by high-tech graphics, drew loud cheers when Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emerged from a pipe in the middle of the field, dressed as the video game character Super Mario. As Japan stepped back, it was time for conclusion with a carnival touch.

Fireworks around the stadium marked the finale and even as the smoke faded, images of the sporting heroes lingered–Usain Bolt’s triple-triple and Michael Phelps’ superhuman efforts were the highlight, while Ryan Lochte’s antics provided the comical touch.The Americans topping the medal charts was no surprise. Britain’s rise to second, ahead of China, certainly was.

Brazil, too, scored, not on the medal charts, but for conducting the Games in the midst of a financial crunch, and staying largely out of trouble that was forecast well before the world turned its focus on this nation. Obrigado Rio, hello Tokyo!

 

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