'Happy and glorious' London Olympics close with spectacular ceremony

The Olympic caldron has been extinguished, and the games' flag lowered and passed on to Rio in anticipation of 2016 after an eccentric closing ceremony in London.

Volunteers make way for the athletes to parade during the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the Olympic stadium in London on August 12, 2012. Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympic Games. AFP PHOTO/LEON NEAL
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LONDON // The 2012 Olympics have closed with IOC president Jacques Rogge proclaiming: "These were happy and glorious Games."

In another night of thrilling British eccentricity a final theatrical flourish saw a flaming phoenix rise above the Olympic cauldron while ballerina Darcey Bussell flew from the roof and Take That played at the other end of the Stadium.

The packed stands joined in with a rousing rendition of The Who's My Generation before streaming out into the London night with the Games over after a wonderful 17 days.

Rogge paid tribute during the ceremony to the London 2012 organisers and volunteers, and to the spectators, for their contribution.

He also said the Games would leave a lasting legacy in terms of infrastructure and by inspiring young people across the world to take up sport.

Rogge said: "These were happy and glorious Games. The legacy of the Games of the 30th Olympiad will become clear in many ways.

"Concrete improvements in infrastructure will benefit the host nation for years to come.

"The human legacy will reach every region of the world.

"Many young people will be inspired to take up a sport or to pursue their dreams."

Rogge said the 17 days of the Olympics had been "unforgettable" and he paid tribute to London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe.

"The organising committee, well supported by the public authorities, did a superb job," he said.

"We will never forget the smiles, the kindness and the support of the wonderful volunteers, the much-needed heroes of these Games.

"You, the spectators and the public, provided the soundtrack for these Games.

"Your enthusiastic cheers energised the competitors and brought a festive spirit to every Olympic venue.

"You have shown the world the best of British hospitality."

The Olympic Flag was lowered and then passed by London Mayor Boris Johnson to Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, who in turn presented it to Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes.

Lord Coe spoke of his pride in pulling off an event that has won plaudits around the world.

Coe said: "On the first day of these Games I said we were determined to do it right. I said that these Games would see the best of us.

"On this last day I can finish with these words: "When our time came - Britain we did it right. Thank you."

As the world bade farewell to London, the host city gave the concert of a lifetime as stars such as Annie Lennox, The Spice Girls, Madness, Queen and Take That took to the stage.

"London 2012 has played host to some incredible sport. To awe inspiring feats, that are the result of incredible dedication and skill by the world's great sports men and women," Coe said.

"To all the Olympians who came to London to compete - thank you. Those of us who came to watch witnessed moments of heroism and heart-break that will live long in the memory.

"You have our admiration and our congratulations."