Athletes fly home as flame goes out

Western Telegraph: Great Britain's Samantha Murray crosses the line in second place to win silver medal in the women's pentathlon Great Britain's Samantha Murray crosses the line in second place to win silver medal in the women's pentathlon

Thousands of Olympic athletes and spectators are heading home after the London 2012 Games ended with a triumphant bang.

A world-wide audience was treated to a spectacular celebration of British music during the closing ceremony last night before the flame was extinguished to officially close the curtain on one of the most memorable sporting extravaganzas of recent times.

The skies above the Olympic Stadium were then lit up by a glittering firework display as the arena's packed stands joined in with a rousing rendition of The Who's My Generation.

As International Olympic Committee boss Jacques Rogge declared the 2012 Olympics closed, he said: "These were happy and glorious Games. We will never forget the smiles, the kindness and the support of the wonderful volunteers, the much-needed heroes of these Games.

"You, the spectators and the public, provided the soundtrack for these Games. Your enthusiastic cheers energised the competitors and brought a festive spirit to every Olympic venue. You have shown the world the best of British hospitality."

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said: "On the first day of these Games I said we were determined to do it right. I said that these Games would see the best of us. On this last day I can conclude with these words: When our time came, Britain, we did it right. Thank you."

In a guide to the ceremony, Prince Harry, who attended with the Duchess of Cambridge, said London 2012 had been an "extraordinary" event which had touched people's hearts and captured their imaginations. US president Barack Obama echoed that view, calling David Cameron to "congratulate him and the people of the United Kingdom and London on an extremely successful Olympic Games", the White House said.

After the ceremony, Mr Johnson addressed Team GB athletes and told them he did not want to hand the Olympic flag back.

"I want you to know it was very, very hard just now to hand over that Olympic flag to Jacques Rogge," the mayor of London said. He asked the athletes whether they thought he should have tried to keep it and then joked: "Did you see I yanked it back and he kind of flinched."

He told the British sportsmen and women they were part of the "greatest team of athletes this country had ever assembled", adding: "Team GB of 2012, you have achieved fantastically."

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