Rio Olympics 2016: Spectacular closing ceremony as Olympic flag goes to Tokyo
The Rio Olympics ended with a spectacular carnival-inspired closing ceremony, and the official handover to 2020 hosts Tokyo.
The colourful ceremony, lasting almost three hours, celebrated Brazil’s arts and was held in a wet Maracana.
Among the highlights were Tokyo’s impressive showcase and a vibrant carnival parade.
“These were a marvellous Olympics, in a marvellous city,” said International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach.
“Over the last 16 days a united Brazil inspired the world, in difficult times for all of us, with its irresistible joy for life.”
Bach officially closed the Games of the 31st Olympiad after 16 days of competition, featuring 11,303 athletes from 206 nations and a refugee team.
One of the biggest cheers of the night came when Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared dressed as computer game character Super Mario, rising out of a huge green pipe in the stadium.
The ceremony, watched by billions around the world, featured the parade of athletes and a dramatic extinguishing of the Olympic flame.
Women’s hockey captain Kate Richardson-Walsh carried the flag for Great Britain, who finished the Games with 67 medals – their highest tally at an overseas Olympics.
Super-heavyweight boxer Joe Joyce had earlier won Britain’s final medal of Rio 2016 – a silver – as they finished second in the medal table to the United States, ahead of China.
South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk, 24, delivered one of the greatest performances of the Games as he broke Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old 400m record.
In doing so he became one of the faces of Rio 2016 – as did US gymnast Simone Biles, the 19-year-old winning four gold medals.
US swimming looks in good health if Phelps retires, with the emergence of Katie Ledecky. Another 19-year-old, she won four golds and a silver in the pool.