London’s 2012 Paralympics has ended with a fiery finale and official handover to 2016 host, Rio de Janeiro.
The show, described as a “festival of flame” honouring Britain’s ancient traditions and festivals, brought 11 days of sport to a close. UK band Coldplay led the show, which started at 20:30 BST, with a live set reflecting the four seasons, BBC reported.
Coldplay sang songs from their five albums, while dancers including the Candoco Dance Company – a contemporary group of 12 disabled and non-disabled dancers – performed with flames around the burning face of a “sun king”.
Unlike the other Games ceremonies, the 4,200 athletes were seated around the main arena, putting them at the heart of the action.
Apart from Coldplay’s live set, the sold-out finale featured performances from pop star Rihanna, rapper Jay-Z and a cast of around 1,200 performers on three circular stages – Summer, Winter and the Sundial.
Some 120 child volunteers from east London took part in the spectacle, along with disabled aerial performers from Circus Scape and The British Paraorchestra.
Declaring the 2012 Paralympics closed, International Paralympic Committee president, Sir Philip Craven, said: “These Games have changed us all forever.”
China finished top of the Paralympic medals table, with 231 medals – 95 gold. Great Britain cemented third place behind Russia, with a tally of 120, including 34 golds.
After the Paralympic flag was passed to the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, performers from Rio – which will stage the games in 2016 – put on a colourful performance fusing hip-hop freestyle and samba, performed by disabled and non-disabled dancers.