Image Credit: bbc.co.uk
Image: AP Photo
The end of the 2016 Olympics was a remarkable show of fireworks, samba and all things Rio. Rio 2016 dropped the curtain on the Summer Games after hosting the world’s most elite athletes, who competed for 360 medals over the past 19 days in Rio de Janeiro. The closing ceremony was one massive festival with dancing, drumming, jiggly boogying and colours. Mostly the performers looked like they were having the time of their lives celebrating their Games and country.
The closing ceremony ended with a fantastic carnival-inspired show, which included the official handover to 2020 hosts Tokyo. It opened with original footage of Alberto Santos Dumont, the man that Brazilians recognize as the inventor of the airplane. Brazilians also believe he is the first to ever wear a wristwatch, an invention made by a friend so he could see the time in flight. Watched by billions around the globe, the extraordinary ceremony featured a parade of athletes and a theatrical extinguishing of the Olympic flame. It lasted three hours, and one of the highlights included an impressive showcase and vibrant carnival parade by Tokyo. One of the biggest cheers of the night came when Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared dressed as Super Mario, rising out of a huge green pipe in the stadium.
Women’s hockey captain Kate Richardson-Walsh carried the flag for Great Britain, who finished the Games with 67 medals, which is their highest tally at an overseas Olympics. There were many human formations of iconic Rio landmarks like Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain. Brazilian model Izabel Goulart led a parade of 50 women and 200 dancers, who were joined by a sound truck containing 12 carnival queens. Music played a huge part during the ceremony as it is seen as the backbone of Brazil’s culture and was woven throughout the entirety of it, from old classics to traditional music to new pop sounds from around the country. Tongan flag bearer Pita Taufatofua soaked up the limelight again, and this time he is even more oiled up than at the opening ceremony.
Tongan taekwondo athlete Pita Taufatofua danced onstage in a grass skirt as a DJ performed. (Image: news.nationalpost.com)
Even though it was rainy and dreary in Rio, the show went on and many athletes wore ponchos, jackets with hoods to keep themselves dry. During the hand-over to the Tokyo 2020 Games, Japan’s national anthem rung out accompanied by robot-like people contracting towards the center of the stadium as a giant red dot shrinks to reveal Japan’s flag. The ceremony concluded with a confetti and fireworks show!
Now we just have to wait four more years for Japan’s turn to host the Games!