By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Aug 22, 2016
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.
In the last of 306 medal ceremonies, IOC President Thomas Bach draped the gold around the neck of Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, who had won the men's marathon earlier in the day.
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.
Once all of the athletes were safely inside the stadium, the spotlight fell on Norwegian DJ and musician Kygo, who accompanied American singer Julia Michaels in a rendition of a song called Carry Me, which then gave way to a film promoting the launch of the IOC’s innovative new digital media platform, the Olympic Channel.
The channel, which, as of 21 August, is available online and on android and iOS mobile devices, initially in English, provides sports fans around the world with the opportunity to access Olympic-related content throughout the year.
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.
In a genius twist, the Prime Minister Abe actually then surfaced in the middle of the stage at the Maracana, in real life, prompting gasps around the stadium.
The stadium was then 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.
IOC 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.
President Bach also had a special word for the 10 athletes who competed under the Olympic flag for the Refugee Olympic Team, pledging the IOC’s continued support for athletes who find themselves unable to compete under their own flag: “You have inspired us with your talent and human spirit.
You are a symbol of hope to the millions of refugees in the world. We will continue to stay at your side after these Olympic Games.”
President Bach then 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”.