Goodbye Rio Hello Tokyo
Rio bids the world a fond farewell
In a style befitting the carnival traditions of the host city, the Rio 2016 closing ceremony opened in a blaze of colour and a musical backdrop of samba sounds, as dancers twisted and turned to form the outlines of a series of iconic Rio monuments and landmarks, culminating in a multi-coloured depiction of the Olympic Rings.
That gave way to the traditional parade of the athletes, led by Greece and host nation Brazil, who with seven golds had enjoyed their most successful Games ever, and culminating with Japan, whose capital city Tokyo will play host to the next edition of the Games in 2020.
President Bach then took the stage flanked by the Mayor of Rio Eduardo Paes and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, as the focus shifted from the current host city to its successor in 2020.
As a choir of Rio children sang the Olympic anthem, the Olympic flag was then passed symbolically from Mr Paes, via the IOC President, to Ms Koike also President of the Japan Weightlifting Federation.
The stadium was filled by a series of animated depictions of the 33 three sports that will feature at the Tokyo 2020 Games, the motto of which is “Discover Tomorrow”. These include no less than five new sports: baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing.
OC President Thomas Bach was then joined in the centre of the stadium by Rio 2016 Organising Committee President Carlos Nuzman, who described the latest edition of the Games as a victory for sport, which would stay with the host city for ever. “I’m proud of my country, my city and my people,” he said, adding that the Games had renewed pride in the country, singling out the volunteers and athletes for special praise.
In his closing address, IOC President Thomas Bach was fulsome in his praise for the host city: “We arrived in Brazil as guests. Today we depart as your friends. You will have a place in our hearts forever,” said President Bach before switching to Portuguese: “Estes foram Jogos Olímpicos maravilhosos, na cidade maravilhosa! (These were marvellous Olympic Games in THE marvellous city!)
The IOC President went on to describe the Rio Games as a celebration of diversity, which would leave a lasting positive impact on the host city. “These Olympic Games are leaving a unique legacy for generations to come. History will talk about a Rio de Janeiro before and a much better Rio de Janeiro after the Olympic Games.”
President Bach declared the Games of the XXXI Olympiad closed, and in accordance with tradition, he called on the youth of the world to assemble in Tokyo in four years’ time. And with that it was ‘Bye bye Rio”.