The London Olympics were described as “happy and glorious” by International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge on Sunday as he officially closed the 30th Summer Games.
“These were happy and glorious Games,” Rogge told cheering competitors and spectators packed into the 80,000-capacity Olympic Stadium in east London, in a clear reference to Britain’s national anthem and Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.
“You have shown the world the best of British hospitality.”
Rogge praised the London organizing committee LOCOG, the volunteers who worked at the event, and the spectators and public for providing the “soundtrack” to the Games.
He also praised the athletes, saying they had earned the respect and admiration of a global audience for their commitment to fair play, respect for opponents and grace in defeat as well as victory.
“Many young people will be inspired to take up a sport or to pursue their dreams,” said Rogge as he handed over the Games to Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and the Olympic cauldron was extinguished before rock band The Who took centre stage.
The wording used by the IOC president at the closing ceremony is always closely watched by the Games’ organizers and other cities vying for the right to host future Olympics.
Rogge, a Belgian surgeon who steps down as IOC president next year after 12 years in the role, described the Beijing games as “truly exceptional.”
He called the Athens Games in 2004 “unforgettable, dream Games.”
Former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch was in the habit of describing each Games as “the best ever,” with the notable exception of Atlanta in 1996 which he called “most exceptional,” incurring him the wrath of the American city.
(Editing by Alison Williams)