|Courtesy London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games|
London, UK (September 10, 2012) — The London 2012 Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony saw Coldplay, one of Britain’s best selling music acts, joined by global superstars Rihanna and Jay-Z in a spectacular celebration of achievements of the Paralympic athletes and an amazing summer of sport.
The Ceremony, called ‘Festival of the Flame’ started at 8.30pm on Sunday 9 September, paid tribute to the UK as a nation famous for hosting festivals and the exuberance of festivals which is felt the world over. Lead by Closing Ceremonies Artistic Director Kim Gavin, Music Director David Arnold and Designer Misty Buckley, the Ceremony was overseen by the same team of Executive Producers who have been in charge of all four Olympic and Paralympic Ceremonies including Oscar winning film director Stephen Daldry.
In a dramatic opening section a storm created by Wind Gremlins on motorbikes attempted to blow away the Agitos – the symbol of the Paralympic Games – whilst a motorcade made its way through London to the Olympic Stadium.
The Ceremony then honoured servicemen and women, particularly through the work of charity Help for Heroes, in a section that saw Captain Luke Sinnott, a double amputee, climb to the top of the flag pole to fly the Union flag to the accompaniment of the National Anthem performed by Lissa Hermans, who is blind and autistic. During a moving speech by Rory Mackenzie, who lost his leg on a patrol due to a roadside bomb, flags from the competing nations formed a heart shape on the field of play before the shape was burnt into the ground.
The motorcade of weird and wonderful vehicles then stormed the Olympic Stadium, including a Clamposaurus, Hellcopter, Beast from the East, Bug, Time Machine and The Car that had to be Toad. The large tricks were built by a team led by Joe Rosh who specialise in taking old battered vehicles and turning them into amazing mechanical floats and machines, and the smaller vehicles were built by Mike Patterson and a team at Kinetika, an outdoor arts design company. The noisy, chaotic and vibrant possession burnt an intricate pattern of crop circles into the field of play before forming the centre stage.
Following the presentation of awards to Michael McKillop (Athletics, Ireland) and Mary Zakayo (Athletics, Kenya) from Dr Whang Youn Dai for sporting excellence, recognition of six newly elected members of the IPC’s Athletes’ Council, and recognition of the 70,000 Olympic and Paralympic Games Maker volunteers, Coldplay were revealed on the central Sundial Stage to lead the celebrations with ‘Us Against The World’.
The band then celebrated the seasonal cycle of ancient and modern festivals that take place throughout the year taking the audience on a journey of their most iconic songs set to cycle through Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer. In a story of fire and flame the band were accompanied by spectacular performances by Candoco Dance Company, disabled ariel performers trained at Circus Space thanks to funding from Arts Council England, and The British Paraorchestra founded by Charles Hazlewood as part of a 200 strong professional cast, 1,300 volunteers, 120 child volunteers from schools in the east London Host Boroughs.
Autumn continued with a performance of ‘Yellow’ accompanied by Candoco and 12 flame dancers, ‘Up In Flames’ accompanied by a display by ariel artists Denis Remnev and Lyndsay Care, then ‘Paradise’ with 19 fireflies descending from the roof.
Coldplay’s performance of ‘42’ signalled the start of Winter with snow-like confetti explain from cannons on the Stadium roof and was accompanied by a performance by ‘crews on stilts’, blue painted Iceni warriors and a Snow Queen played by Vikoria Modesta, a lower-leg amputee, model and singer/songwriter. Finally ‘God Put A Smile On Your Face’ saw motorcycle aerialists Lyndsay Adams and Laszlo Simet ride to the top of the Stadium by motorbike to ignite a ball of energy to signify the beginning of Spring.
In Spring Coldplay performed ‘Clocks’ whilst a giant laser spread across the Stadium, and ‘Charlie Brown’ accompanied by 120 children, before Rihanna, who has sold more than 25 million albums and 60 million singles worldwide, was revealed on a Steamship truck travelling around the track for the performance of a ‘Princess of China’ as a duet with Coldplay.
Summer opened with ‘Strawberry Swing’ accompanied by the British Paraorchestra, before Rihanna performed ‘We Found Love’ from a swing raised above the stage, and Coldplay finished the season with a performance of ‘Viva La Vida’, the song which was performed by musicians simultaneously around the UK earlier at 2.00pm as part of Bandstand Marathon – the final event of the London 2012 Festival.
Then came the handover of the Paralympic Flag from the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to the President of the International Paralympic Committee Sir Philip Craven who entrusted it to Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes. This was followed by a joyful and colourful artistic segment by Rio 2016 of musical performances by Brazilian pop stars and playful dance battles with wheelchair dancers and visually impaired ballerinas.
Speeches by Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, 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.
Thomas Heatherwick’s Cauldron opened and as the Flame began to fade Paralympic 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 fourteen-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 made 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’ whilst the circular stages released fountains of water to finally extinguish the Paralympic Flame.
The Ceremony ended with a spectacular firework display over the Olympic Stadium and Park, as the worldwide broadcast left the Olympic Park to showcase a firework display along the River Thames as part of the Mayor’s Thames Festival, a stunning display lighting up the Paralympic logo, the Agitos, on Tower Bridge and finally a projection on the Houses of Parliament of the words ‘Thank you London, thank you UK.’
Seb Coe, LOCOG Chair, said: ‘The Paralympic Games has set new records every day, sporting records, records for crowds for television audiences, for unbridled spirit. In this country we will never think of sport the same way and we will never think of disability the same way. The Paralympians have lifted the cloud of limitation.
‘In the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games I said that we would ignite a flame that would ignite the world. I am proud tonight to say we have done this.
‘There are some famous words you can find stamped on the bottom of a product. Words, that when you read them, you know mean high quality, mean skill, mean creativity. We have stamped those words on the Olympic and Paralympic Games of London 2012: “London 2012. Made in Britain.”.’
Kim Gavin, Closing Ceremonies Artistic Director, said: ‘What better way to demonstrate our respect and commitment to these athletes than by celebrating with Britain’s most internationally renowned band, two global superstars and a fantastic cast of professionals and volunteers.’
Coldplay’s Chris Martin said; ‘Being asked to play at the closing celebrations for the Paralympic athletes in London is such a great honour for us. Kim Gavin and Misty Buckley worked hard to put on a spectacular Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony for the athletes and spectators in the stadium, and everyone watching around the world, and we are so happy to be involved. It was one of the biggest nights of our lives and we were excited to try to create a performance for the last night of the games that will close London 2012 in style.’
‘We’re a London band, We met here. It’s where we all record, rehearse and live. These Games have been a chance to show London off to the rest of the world – and for us to watch loads of table tennis!’
Rihanna said: ‘Being at the Paralympics is the biggest honour. These athletes are gladiators and are a true inspiration to me!’
Following is the Closing Ceremony, which was not broadcast in the United States, presented in its entirety.