See you in Brazil!
The 2012 Olympic Games came to a close as London s mayor, Boris Johnson, passed on the Olympic flag decorated with the four symbolic rings to Eduardo Paes, Rio de Janeiro s mayor, who waved the over-sized flag with pride.
Following the Brazilian national anthem, the ceremony culminated in carnival fashion, as Brazilian samba dancers, Capoeira artists, singers and rappers welcomed the world to their home country for the 2016 Olympic Games kicking of Aug. 5.
Victoria s Secret supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio and Brazil s soccer legend Pel , also took part of the festivities.
After a glorious two weeks of never-to-be-forgotten moments that left Britain exhausted, exhilarated and deeply proud, organizers handed the baton to 2016 host Brazil, which must now take up the Herculean task of matching them.
Judging by the swaying samba of Marisa Monte and the sexy baritone of Seu Jorge in Brazil's eight-minute musical and visual postcard for the 2016 games, they look to be off to a foot-stomping start.
Aside from Brazil s lavish presentation, the hugely entertaining closing ceremony for the Olympics included a sensational rock 'n roll nostalgia tour that thrilled the London night with top-of-the-chart classics, supermodels and psychedelic mayhem.
The three-hour extravaganza offered a sensory blast including rock 'n' roll rickshaws, dustbin percussionists, an exploding yellow car and a marching band in red tunics and bearskin hats.
The Spice Girls staged a show-stopping reunion, and Monty Python's Eric Idle sauntered through "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" accompanied by Roman centurions, Scottish bagpipers and a human cannonball.
It all made for a madcap mashup that had 80,000 fans at Olympic Stadium stomping, cheering and singing along. Organizers estimated 300 million or more were watching around the world.
What a way to end a games far more successful than many Londoners expected. Early security glitches were conquered with the help of the military, road traffic was manageable and the wettest early summer on record gave way to mostly sunny skies. More importantly, British athletes overachieved.
It all came with a price tag of $14 billion three times the original estimate. But nobody wanted to spoil the fun with such mundane concerns, at least not on this night.
"We lit the flame, and we lit up the world," said London organizing committee chief Sebastian Coe. "When our time came, Britain, we did it right."
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge declared the Olympics over with praise for the athletes.
"Through your commitment to fair play, your respect for opponents, and your grace in defeat as well as in victory, you have earned the right to be called Olympians," he said, adding: "These were happy and glorious games."
But the night was about splash more than speeches.
Festive and fast-moving, the ceremony opened with pop bands Madness, Pet Shop Boys and One Direction, a shout-out to Winston Churchill and a tribute to the Union Jack the Olympic Stadium floor arranged to resemble the British flag.
Monochrome recreations of London landmarks were covered in newsprint, from Big Ben's clock tower and Tower Bridge to the London Eye ferris wheel and the chubby high-rise known as the Gherkin.
Street percussion group Stomp built the noise into a frenzy, and dancers brandished brooms, in a nod to the spontaneous popular movement to clean up London after riots shook neighborhoods not far from Olympic Stadium just a year ago.