Live Commentary: Paralympics closing ceremony

Olympics opening ceremony
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live text commentary of the "Festival of Flame" at the Olympic Stadium, as London says farewell to a spectacular summer of Olympic and Paralympic sport.

Over the past 45 days, the sporting world has revolved around London.

The successful hosting of a fabulous Olympic and then Paralympic Games have delivered in successfully inspiring a generation.

Great Britain finished a very respectable third in both medal tables, breaking hearts and records left, right and centre.

The official eventing ends tonight with the Paralympic closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium.

Sports Mole is here to bring you live text commentary of the emotional send-off, which has been billed by organisers as "a Festival of Flame".


11pmThank you for joining Sports Mole for tonight's spectacular Paralympic closing ceremony. And remember, it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

10.58pmThe Fireworks end and the words: "Thank you London. Thank you UK" are projected onto the House of Commons.

10.53pmThe River Thames has never looked so beautiful, not even during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant!

10.51pmThe music stops, the crowd erupts and fireworks explode across the capital!

10.48pmThis is it! The last song of the night and the last moment of London 2012. Coldplay will play us out with 'Every Teardrop is a Waterfall'. Great Britain, you have played a blinder!

10.47pmI am one inspirational Paralympic montage away from tears here!

10.43pmColdplay begin to play 'The Scientist', which will be tonight's penultimate song.

10.42pmChris Martin orchestrates a round of applause for all of the athletes inside the stadium.

10.41pmJay-Z and Coldplay are now 'collaborating' on a rap version of 'Paradise'. It isn't really working, but no one cares. It's been a great night and an even better summer.

10.37pmThat concludes the ceremonial business, however the party will now continue here in Stratford. Jay-Z, Rihanna and Coldplay all return to the stage to perform 'Run This Town'.

10.34pmEllie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock each light a torch before the Paralympic cauldron is finally extinguished. The gold-winning pair pass on their respective flames, which are carried away. Good luck Brazil.

10.33pmStunning speeches from both men.

10.32pm"This has made the London 2012 Paralympic Games unique and without doubt, in my mind and those of the athletes - the Greatest Paralympic Games Ever. These Games have changed us all forever."

10.31pmCraven: "The Paralympic Games have truly come home and found their pathway to the future here in London. The Paralympic spirit, which saw its first sparks of life in Stoke Mandeville some 64 years ago, has followed a super-charged and surreal existence over the last 12 days...

10.28pmInternational Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven now steps up to the mic...

10.25pmCoe concludes: "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."

10.24pm"In this country we will never think of sport the same way and we will never think of disability the same way."

10.24pmCoe continues: "So Andrew and Emily, I am going to have the last word. Thank you - to you and all our volunteers...

10.23pmCoe then tells another anecdote about a meeting with a female Games Maker called Emily at the Paralympics. She told him that participating in wheelchair basketball had "lifted the cloud of limitation".

10.22pmCoe discussing his meeting with a Games Maker on the London Underground: "His name was Andrew and he told me he was a doctor at St Mary's hospital on his way to help out at boxing. When I tried to thank him, he wouldn't let me. He said he was the one who wanted to do the thanking.

"And as we did a very English dance over who should thank who, he suddenly cut through all the politeness and said: 'I was on duty on 7/7, that awful day. For me this is closure. I wasn't sure I should come or whether I could face it. I'm so glad I did. For I've seen the worst of mankind and now I've seen the best of mankind.'"

10.20pmI was right! This is sensational. Quotes to follow..

10.17pmAll three seemed to fuse into one there. I was expecting two more dances, but that is it from Brazil. Fireworks are unleashed from the roof. Next up is Sebastian Coe, who - trust me - is going to say something incredibly moving and profound.

10.13pmThe first of three dance numbers is currently going on. This one is a "batalha do passinho" dance battle, which fusing hip-hip freestyle and samba dancing.

10.09pmTears are being shed across the stadium, as the realisation dawns that 'our time' is almost over. The Brazilians will now stage a brief presentation, titled: 'Joy'.

10.07pmBoris is back! The loveable buffoon is carrying a different Paralympic flag. He gives it a big goofy wave and passes it over to the mayor of Rio de Janeiro Eduardo Paes. The Brazilian flag is erected in the Stadium, as the South American country's national anthem is played.

10.03pmNow for a somber moment, as the Paralympic flag is lowered and carried away by members of the armed forces. What an 11 days it has been!

10.01pmOnce again, the stadium looks absolutely stunning. Confetti, men throwing fireworks and all the colours of the rainbow. The crowd get properly involved for the first time tonight, as they sing along to 'Viva la Vida'.

9.56pmRihanna returns to the party on a glammed-up garden seat that is swinging above the stage on wires. She sings 'We Found Love'. As she thrusts about, she looks like she is dangerously close to falling off. She won't though, she's a pro.

9.52pmThe British Paraorchestra has 17 members with disabilities. Auditions began 12 months ago and the musicians only performed live to an audience for the first time in July!

9.50pmAfter delivering a powerful version of Princess Of China, lead singer Chris Martin introduces the British Paraorchestra, who sing an introduction to the song 'Strawberry Swing'.

9.45pmColdplay finish off a rendition of 'Charlie Brown' and now here comes Rihanna, dressed from head to toe in an orange robe, arriving in style on a big Pirates of-the-Caribbean-style boat thing.

9.43pmWithout being overly political, I just hope that this Stadium becomes something more than a home for West Ham United. She deserves so, so much more. What an arena!

9.40pmSpring is here! The Olympic Stadium looks absolutely incredible as it explodes into colour using the pixel pads that have been given to the people in the seats.

9.38pmThe whole stadium is now covered in a deep blue glow. The only flame remains that of the Paralympic cauldron, which is looking thoroughly majestic. Coldplay are currently playing 'Clocks'.

9.34pmFraser, 50, was born with short arms after his mother took the drug Thalidomide during pregnancy.

9.32pmColdplay are in full swing now, as they blast out 'God Put A Smile Upon Your Face'. They are joined tonight on stage by disabled drummer Mat Fraser.

9.29pmThe crows on stilts are back too!

9.28pmIf it wasn't Winter yet, it definitely is now! Six dancers, holding modest flames, are ice-skating around the White Queen.

9.24pmColdplay's set seems to be continuing with the four-seasons theme. I'm pretty such that we started in Autumn, with that see of orange, which continued throughout the last song: 'Up in Flames'. A little bit more blue has been introduced as they play their 2011 hit 'Paradise'.

9.17pmAn incredible 'sun king' is created by flames in front of the stage. The Candoco Dance Company - a contemporary group of 12 disabled and non-disabled dancers - are performing a flame dance around it.

9.14pmNot necessarily my cup of tea, but it was performed absolutely flawlessly. The stadium lights now change to project a mustardy yellow and the band begin to play... you guessed it, 'Yellow'.

9.10pmThe music begins. At the centre of the stadium on the main stage, which is now surrounded by the aforementioned machines, Coldplay kick us off with 'Us Against the World'.

9.07pmThe newly-elected athletes now honour the 70,000 games-making volunteers, as six volunteers come up to receive flowers.

9.05pmThe shenanigans take a break for a while, as six athletes are officially elected into the International Paralympic Committee's Athletes' Council.

9.01pmThe whole show so far seems remarkably similar to this year's Haltwhistle carnival. I think Mr Gavin may have taken a little holiday to the centre of Britain!

9pmDirector Kim Gavin did say that we should worry ourselves by looking for too much meaning in this part of the show. That is good because I am stumped.

8.58pmMany more vehicles enter the stadium, each representing one of the four seasons. I'm not yet sure which is which. We have a big silver fish, a grasshopper and a cog. All are covered in dancers. There is also around 16 marching crows on stilts.

8.52pmFlag bearers representing each of the 164 nations participating in the Paralympics enter the Stadium to rapturous applause. As mentioned earlier, ParalympicsGB are led out by wheelchair athlete David Weir and cyclist Sarah Storey.

8.50pmMackenzie: "Tonight we bring you the Festival of the Flame, the symbol of the spirit of the Games, which has burned bright at London 2012. Tonight we celebrate that spirit, and although we have many differences, there is one quality we all share, one thing all of us have in common: human spirit."

8.48pmRory Mackenzie is about to adress the crowd. The South African was blown up on patrol in Iraq, losing his right leg, while serving as a medic with the British Army. He can now walk again and has taken up skiing!

8.47pmLissa Hermans blasts out a glorious rendition of the National Anthem from the Sundial Stage. She is blind and autistic.

8.45pmPrince Edward and IPC President Sir Philip Craven make their entrance in a specially-made vehicle driven by Captain Tony Harris, who is also an amputee. His injuries were sustained while serving in Afghanistan.

8.42pmSinnott, who is celebrating his 32nd birthday today, hopes to represent Great Britain at the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil as a sailor.

8.41pmA Help for Heroes team raise a flag pole and Captain Luke Sinnott begins his assent to the top. Sinnott lost both legs and an arm in an IED bomb blast while serving in Afghanistan in 2010.

8.40pmThe vehicle is called the Human Endeavour machine.

8.39pmA horse-like vehicle has entered the stadium, followed by members of the Company of Drummers, who have got firebrands on their backs. I told you there'd be fire.

8.37pmThey have created a storm in the centre of the Olympic Stadium and are 'doing battle' with around a dozen children in striped tights. This could get messy.

8.35pmApparently, wind gremlins represent our internal demons and dampen our spirits by putting out the fires inside us. Bastards!

8.34pmA convoy of mobile wind machines, operated by wind gremlins (demonic-looking men in black tights), have just entered the stadium.

8.31pmA short film is being shown around the stadium. It appears to be a cross between Robot Wars and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

8.29pmThe lights have dimmed right down. A tannoy announcement is made and the 10-second countdown begins.

8.27pmBoris: "The hangover [after the Games finish] won't happen, or at least we can get long-term benefit from this. We want to see a social and cultural legacy from these Games. I will continue to play wiff waff."

8.25pmMayor of London Boris Johnson has just spoken briefly to Channel 4, before John Snow decided that enough was enough and brought the chat to an abrupt end mid-waffle...

8.20pmMany of the athletes are in fancy dress and some of them have just started a Mexican wave.

8.15pmWith just 15 minutes to go until the party starts for real, all the athletes are now seated around the field on fold-up chairs. They, along with the rest of the 80,000-strong crowd, are being shown an emotional Paralympic montage on the big screens.

8.09pmMr Cameron also says that the Paralympics has changed perceptions of disabled sport. He then says that emphasis should now not just be on "legacy", but "momentum" for sports participation.

8.07pm"It's been a golden summer of British sport, it's given the country a big lift."

8.06pm"I think back to Ivan. As every parent, you think about all the things they can't do, but at the Paralympics they are superhuman, you see all the things they can do...

8.05pmCameron: "I think it's been an absolute triumph from start to finish and I'm really proud of the country, not just that we've put on a great show, but we've had these great audiences...

8.04pmPrime Minister David Cameron, whose disabled son Ivan died in 2009, has just been speaking live about the Paralympics...

7.56pmCundy: "The crowds have really made these Games. It may not be my best Games but it's certainly my most memorable."

7.54pmBritish cyclist Jody Cundy, who made an explicit outburst in the velodrome after being denied a restart, has arrived at the Olympic Stadium for the ceremony.

7.48pmDespite their best attempts at camouflage, servicemen and women from the armed forces can be seen in their hundreds around the Olympic Stadium. Along with the athletes, officials and volunteers, they will be honoured at some point during the ceremony.

7.42pmThese individuals have been the stars of the show over the past 11 days and it is only fitting that they remain at centre stage tonight.

7.40pmThe majority of the crowd are in place and the field at the Olympic Stadium is filling up athletes, who will watch tonight's spectacular from the middle of this magnificent arena.

7.28pmLondon outsold Beijing by almost 900,000 in the Paralympic ticking stakes.

7.26pmThis year's Games were the most watched in Paralympic history. Ticket sales reached 2.7m and made ?10m more than London 2012 chiefs had predicted. Tonight's showpiece is an 80,000 sell-out.

7.20pmGavin also teases us by hinting at "a few surprises". I suppose we will just have to wait and see.

7.19pmArtistic director Kim Gavin explains: "The idea is the coming together as one.

"We are known as a nation for having the most festivals, it is something that we do - with 600 festivals a year.

"We pay tribute to the all the human spirit and achievement through this wonderful sport of the last two weeks."

7.18pmAll in all, a cast of around 1,200 performers will entertain the crowd.

19.13In terms of musical talent, Coldplay will headline. Jay-Z and Rihanna are also on the bill.

7.09pmOn the pair, chef de mission Craig Hunter said: "During the London 2012 Paralympic Games, ParalympicsGB has witnessed some outstanding performances, and most notably from Sarah Storey and David Weir.

"These athletes represent the spirit of Paralympic athleticism."

7.05pmHeroic British Paralympic duo David Weir and Sarah Storey, who each won four gold medals at the Games, will carry the British flag together into the closing ceremony tonight.


London Olympic Stadium
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