Next stop Paris as Tokyo Olympics come to a close

The French capital will welcome the Games for the first time since 1924

Sabrina Johnson
Sunday 08 August 2021 22:47
<p>A spectacular firework display marks the end of the handover ceremony </p>

A spectacular firework display marks the end of the handover ceremony

The Tokyo Olympics have come to a close with Team GB putting in one of its best-ever performances.

The team’s 65-medal haul from the Tokyo games matches the number earned at the London 2012 Olympics and is only two short of the record set in the 2016 Rio competition.

The team earned 22 gold medals – the fourth-best performance ever by a British team.

On the final day of the pandemic games, Team GB secured gold medals in the velodrome and boxing ring.

Lauren Price’s middleweight victory capped off a “brilliant Games for British boxing” while Jason Kenny defended his keirin title to become the most decorated British Olympian in history.

Jason Kenny won his seventh Olympic gold

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the nation’s successful Olympians have demonstrated that “there is no limit to what we can achieve”.

He said: “This team has shown that even in the most difficult circumstances, sport brings people together and changes lives. You have shown grace in victory and amazing courage in defeat.

“And whilst you may not have heard the roar of the crowd in Tokyo, every one of you has given us a reason to cheer back home – in living rooms, pubs, parks and offices across the land.

“Above all, you have again revealed the central truth about this country: that when we put our minds to it, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

“Thank you Team GB. We are so, so proud of you. Now, bring on Paris!”

Flag bearers during the closing ceremony

After being deferred from 2020, the Tokyo games took place in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic and under heavy restrictions, with the closing ceremony being no exception.

The competition’s official sign-off started with the raising of the Japanese flag as the Olympic cauldron burned in the corner of the stadium.

Athletes entered the stadium after a scaled-down parade of flagbearers started proceedings. Sixty-two of the competing nations were missing.

Many athletes marched in holding phones to capture the moment or waved mini flags. Nearly all were wiping sweat off their brows on another humid Tokyo summer night.

The games saw some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded during an Olympics with temperatures reaching 35C at points over the 16-days of competition.

Just like many of the events, the ceremony went off without fans in the stands.

The Olympic Stadium was empty except for a few hundred media, Olympics officials and volunteers as the cauldron burned at one end.

Colourful performers in Tokyo on Sunday

The ceremony included a ska band on a stage with people dancing, juggling and football players moving around an elevated stage in the centre of the stadium.

In Olympic tradition medals for the marathon were presented followed by traditional Japanese dances inside the stadium and on the videoboard.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach declared the Games closed after the French flag was raised inside Olympic Stadium for the transition to Paris 2024.

A flyover by jets from the Patrouille de France (Patrol of France) celebrates the official handover of the Olympic Games from Tokyo to Paris

In the French capital, thousands of people, including medalists who had returned from Tokyo, gathered near the Eiffel Tower to welcome the handover of the Olympic flag.

A flyover by jets from the Patrouille de France released blue, white and red smoke – the colours of the French flag.

French president Emmanuel Macron was filmed on the top floor of the Eiffel Tower saying the Olympic slogan “higher, faster, stronger” and adding: “Together.”

The event took place during the Tokyo games closing ceremony, after the Olympic flag was formally handed over to Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo.

It was followed by a concert performed by French artist Woodkid at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

When Paris hosts the games in three years time it will be the first time the city has welcomed the Olympics since 1924.

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