Curtains close on the 2012 London Olympics
LONDON United Kingdom (3rd Update) - London 2012 was in party mood as it bid farewell Sunday, a mass singalong bringing the curtain down on an Olympic Games that has radiated the feelgood factor throughout.
The closing ceremony, entitled "A Symphony of British Music", was a celebration of Britain's pop prowess, with the sounds of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and John Lennon's "Imagine" ringing round the Olympic Stadium.
Thousands of athletes who have entertained the world during the Olympic sporting extravaganza craned to take pictures of stars like George Michael and Fatboy Slim performing at the centre of a giant stage in the shape of Britain's Union Jack flag.
Meanwhile the pumped-up 80,000-strong crowd got into the party atmosphere, singing along in full voice as waves of colour swept around the bowl on the pixel screens in front of each seat.
The three-hour spectacle began with New Year-style Big Ben chimes counting down to 9:00pm (2000 GMT).
Britain's Union Jack was laid out in the form of newsprint ramps to the stadium centre, though on closer inspection the story headlines were quotations from classic English literature.
The central stage featured a panorama of the London skyline and wartime British prime minister Winston Churchill, played by actor Timothy Spall, appeared atop the "Big Ben" clock tower.
"Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises," he intoned, recalling the line from William Shakespeare's play "The Tempest" that inspired Danny Boyle's dramatic July 27 opening ceremony.
In his biggest role to date, 27-year-old Prince Harry, third in line to the throne, represented Queen Elizabeth II at the show.
1980s ska band Madness, who played on the Buckingham Palace roof for the queen's jubilee, kicked off the mass singalong with their hit "Our House", which was followed by Blur's tune "Parklife".
With the crowd on backing vocals, The Kinks' frontman Ray Davies then played "Waterloo Sunset", his gentle 1967 London love song that has played in stadiums throughout the Games.
"After 16 days of competition, we wanted to host a celebration of all that's good about London, British people, our music and our culture," Kim Gavin, the show's artistic director, said beforehand.
"And capture the spirit that's inspired so much global creativity over the past 50 years."
More than 300 million people would be watching around the world, the audience were told.
While a chosen athlete carried each national flag into the stadium, the competitors streamed in as one, some wearing their medals and others taking pictures of the scene.
They formed the wedges in the Union Jack as as Elbow played their symphonic hit "One Day Like This" on the stage.
There was one final well-respected medal ceremony -- that for Sunday's men's marathon, in which Stephen Kiprotich won Uganda's second-ever gold medal.
One of the hallmarks of the London Games has been how athletes have been enthusiastically cheered, regardless of nationality.
Sounds of The Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun" then washed around and the Kaiser Chiefs belted out The Who's "Pinball Wizard" as Mods on scooters rode around the stadium.
Supermodels like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell strutted their stuff in a tribute to British fashion.
Annie Lennox appeared as the figurehead of a ghost galleon, while DJ Fatboy Slim performing on a psychadelic camper van that turned into a blow-up octopus.
Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and Taio Cruz sang the Bee Gees' hit "You Should Be Dancing".
The Spice Girls also reunited for a night to sing "Spice Up Your World" and "Wannabe".
Tickets for the ceremony cost between £20.12 ($31.60, 25.65 euros) and £1,500 ($2,350, 1,900 euros).
Jonathan Mann, 51, who paid £150 for his seat, said: "I have been absolutely blown away by the whole of the Olympics. The whole spirit of the country has been fantastic. It's been absolutely incredible."
Emma Mann, 40, added: "It's been like a carnival in our house for the last two weeks."
As well as the flame being extinguished in the stadium, the ceremony was to feature a segment looking forward to the Rio de Janeiro Games of 2016, and London Mayor Boris Johnson handing over the Olympic flag to his counterpart from the giant Brazilian city.
'Happy & glorious'
Olympics President Jacques Rogge praised the Games as "happy and glorious" before the sporting spectacular was brought to a close in a three-hour ceremony rounded out with a performance from British rock band The Who.
"Through your commitment to fair play, your respect for opponents, and your grace in defeat as well as in victory, you have earned the right to be called Olympians," Rogge said. "These were happy and glorious Games."
Record-breaking sprinter Usain Bolt and swimmer Michael Phelps lit up Olympic Park, a former industrial site, and Jessica Ennis led an unexpectedly high number of British champions who kept fans' excitement at fever-pitch.
The United States topped the medals table with 46 golds, eight ahead of China, while Britain had 29 -- their best since 1904. It was the first Games where every team had at least one female athlete.
After 16 full days of competition, 302 Olympic titles were handed out and 46 world records were broken. More than seven million fans came out to watch Olympic events, and Bolt's 200m win generated a record 80,000 tweets a minute.
"Today was the closing of a wonderful Games in a wonderful city. We lit the flame and we lit up the world," said Games chief Sebastian Coe.
Prime Minister David Cameron received congratulations from US President Barack Obama, who called him to praise the organization and the performance of the British team.
"We reminded ourselves what we can do and, yes, we demonstrated that you should never ever count Team GB down and out," Cameron said earlier.
Cameron said the Games had reflected the best of Britain's multicultural make-up, taking the example of Mo Farah, the winner of the men's 10,000 title who went on to claim gold in the 5,000m on Saturday.
Farah came to Britain as a refugee aged eight after spending his early years in Somalia and Djibouti.
"It's a Britain where a boy born in Somalia, Mo Farah, can come here, seize opportunities, and run his way into the nation's heart," Cameron said.
"It's a Britain where we cheer ourselves hoarse not just for Team GB but for Team Jamaica or, as people have just done on the Mall, Team Uganda," he added, referring to the winner of Sunday's men's marathon Stephen Kiprotich.
"Over the past couple of weeks, we have looked in the mirror and we like what we have seen as a country," he said.
Britain's newspapers on Monday reflected the country's new-found pride but also betrayed a tinge of sadness that the Games were over.
"Thanks, it's been a blast," said the Daily Telegraph's front page, while the Guardian bade "Goodbye to the Glorious Games".
"No one is as surprised as the hosts that this fraught and complex festival of striving should have gone so well," said The Times, calling the Games a "great exhibition of competence, creativity, athleticism and sportsmanship."
The final day of sport saw 15 medals decided, with the United States' Dream Team wrapping up victory over Spain in the basketball final as the Americans cemented their place on top of the medal table ahead of China.
The last day started in traditional style with the men's marathon, with Kiprotich delivering only Uganda's second ever Olympic gold medal in a race that finished in the shadow of Buckingham Palace.
Kiprotich timed 2hr 08min 01sec on the spectacular course around the streets of central London, with two-time defending world champion Abel Kirui claiming silver in 2:08.27.
Anthony Joshua handed Britain the perfect end to the Olympic boxing tournament with his super heavyweight triumph to win Britain's 29th gold.
Teenager Robeisy Ramirez joined the long list of Cuban Olympic ring kings with a victory in the flyweight final over Mongolia's Tugstsogt Nyambayar.
"The moment I heard I won I fell on the floor because it was overwhelming. I am 18 years old and I am already an Olympic champion," said the teenager. - Agence France-Presse