LONDON – The closing ceremony on Sunday night was a lot of things — boring wasn’t one of them.
The grand finale to the 2012 Summer Olympics was a feast for the eyes and ears, a mesmerizing mix of colors and sounds. That is what these events are expected to be, but each with unique twists.
Essentially, Olympic Stadium was transformed into a giant prop for the evening’s festivities, with visual effects changing patterns every few minutes or seconds.
The music had plenty of nostalgia (closing act The Who, George Michael and Annie Lennox, among others) that turned back the clock.
The London Games theme song, “Survival,” by Muse, was a particularly strong performance. The band sounded superb — loud and full of energy.
Monty Python cocreator Eric Idle delighted the crowd with his lighthearted “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” accompanied by soprano Susan Bullock, the Reading Scottish Pipe Band and others.
The appearance of John Lennon on video monitors singing “Imagine” was a stirring moment, made more so when his widow, Yoko Ono, was then shown next to him.
The Spice Girls performed, with each one standing on top of a different automobile. “Wannabe” pushed the proceedings into full party mode. Later, Jessie J teamed up with Queen for “We Will Rock You,” the pop diva crafting a fun rendition of the rock anthem, sung famously by the late Freddie Mercury, for all to remember.
There were, of course, speeches by the two men most responsible for these Summer Games.
“Dear athletes,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said, addressing a global audience, “you have earned the respect and admiration of a global audience and you have written a new chapter of Olympic history that began in ancient Olympia 3,000 years ago.
“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. These were happy and glorious games.”
Rogge called the event “17 unforgettable days.”
Speaking before the IOC head honcho made his remarks, Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Olympics Organizing Committee, said: “Today sees the closing of a wonderful games in a wonderful city. We lit the flame and lit up the world.
“On the first day of these games,” he concluded, “I said we are 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.”
The closing ceremony gave everyone an opportunity to thank the thousands of volunteers who kept things running smoothly throughout the city. And it was a grand sendoff to the world’s athletes and the passing of the torch to Rio for 2016.
In a word, memorable.