“We have all been touched by the triumphs and drama of the Paralympics”.
The curtain came down on the unforgettable London 2012 Paralympics with Coldplay, Jay-Z and Rihanna playing to a capacity Olympic Stadium at the Closing Ceremony.
The three acts, among the biggest in the world, thrilled the crowd on a memorable night in London.
It brought to an end 11 days of competition that have enthralled audiences across the world.
His Royal Highness Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex was present to witness a spectacular show that illustrated the four seasons.
It provided a fitting finale to what International Paralympics Committee (IPC) president Sir Philip Craven described as “the greatest Paralympic Games ever” in his closing speech.
The show opened with Lance Corporal Rory McKenzie, who is supported by the Help For Heroes charity, telling the crowd that: “We have all been touched by the triumphs and drama of the Paralympics”.
He added: “Let the love that the Paralympics has kindled in our hearts burn brightly as we come together as one, for the Festival of the Flame”.
It set the tone for a completely memorable evening.
After the flag of each competing nation was brought into the stadium, a show involving 740 volunteers got underway.
Following a stunning fire display, Paralympians Michael McKillop of Ireland, and Kenya’s Mary Nakhumicha Zakayo were given the Whang Youn Dai award for those exemplifying the spirit of the Games.
Zakayo, who competes in javelin and shot put, has helped changed the face of Paralympic sport in Africa.
McKillop, who lit up the Olympic Stadium in London with gold-medal winning races in the T37 800m and 1,500m events, consistently dedicates time to helping and encouraging thousands of school children throughout Ireland.
Platinum-selling band Coldplay then wowed the crowd with a superb set that saw them accompanied by Rihanna for two songs.
After the Paralympic Flag was handed over by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, to the IPC’s Sir Philip and then to Eduardo Paes, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, the Rio 2016 team provided a samba-inspired performance to give a taste of the next Games in four years’ time.
Speeches by Sir Philip and Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, were followed by The Final Flame – a section to mark the closing of the Paralympic Games and the last night of London 2012.
British gold medallists Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock arrived to transfer the final flame to a London Paralympic Torch. They then proceeded to light hundreds of torches held by members of the cast throughout the field of play, whilst 14-time Grammy award winner Jay-Z arrived on stage with Rihanna to perform “Run This Town” followed by a reprise of Paradise by Coldplay with Jay-Z.
Coldplay then provided an emotional performance of “The Scientist” as sporting highlights of the past 11 days played on the big screens in the Stadium, before being joined by all the cast to perform “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall”.
The ceremony ended with a spectacular firework display over the Olympic Stadium and Park, providing a fitting finale to an entirely unforgettable London 2012.