Five Best Olympic Closing Ceremonies of All Time

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An event like the Olympics deserves a great send off, and over the years there have been some spectacular and poignant closing ceremonies. Here are five of the most memorable.

Olympics

Montreal 1976

In an era before big pyrotechnics and theatre, there was more of an emphasis on being simple but effective, and Montreal certainly delivered in that regard.

Tributes were paid to the indigenous people of Canada with thousands of performers entering the Olympic Stadium.

They performed in an arrowhead formation before entering the field and forming the Olympic rings with their colour co-ordinated outfits.

Los Angeles 1984

This was the first closing ceremony in which all athletes could attend if they wanted to, with 6000 of them piling into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The 750-member strong Olympic All American Marching Band performed the John Williams composition “Olympic Fanfare and Theme”.

A handover to mark the 1988 Olympics in Seoul was performed, with a traditional Buchaechum by the Seoul City Dance Theatre and were joined by Hodori – the official mascot of 1988.

Finally, Lionel Richie performed an extended version of his 80s Number 1 hit single “All Night Long” accompanied by breakdancers.

Sydney 2000

Also known as “Let’s Party”, the closing ceremony for Sydney 200 was an utterly mammoth event, with estimates of 2.4billion people watching around the world.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, the outgoing president of the International Olympic Committee, declared the games Down Under to be “the best Olympic games ever”.

The Australasian culture was celebrated in the ceremony with Paul Hogan as Crocodile Dundee, Greg Norman, Elle McPherson, and Bananas in Pyjamas making up an eclectic parade to say the least.

Pop sensation Kylie Minogue performed some of her biggest hits before the world’s biggest-ever fireworks display at the time illuminated Sydney and brought the curtain down on the 21st century’s first Olympics.

London 2012

In every sense, the London Olympics were an absolute triumph from start to finish and the London games were given the send off they deserved.

So many of Britain’s music icons – spanning multiple genres – were in attendance to deliver performances of their own songs or covers of British classics.

The Beatles, Queen, Madness, Kate Bush, Annie Lennox, Fatboy Slim, One Direction, Tinie Tempah, Ed Sheeran, and The Who were just some of those honoured in London.

Not forgetting of course the Spice Girls reunion which saw worldwide hits “Wannabe” and “Spice Up Your Life” performed, whipping the audience into a frenzy.

Sebastian Coe, who headed London’s successful bid for the games some years earlier, parted with the immortal line “when our time came, Britain, we did it right!”.

Rio 2016

A nation whose culture is steeped in carnivals and samba music was always going to put on a great show and Rio certainly didn’t disappoint.

The legendary “Cidade Maravilhosa”, the carnival march that represents Rio’s national anthem, was played in a medley with a host of other colourful tunes to end the Rio games.

However, the handover to Tokyo was a spectacular masterpiece, with Japanese anime and video game characters such as Pacman and Mario were brought to life in a fantastic video presentation.

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.
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