One only has to look at the front pages of today's national newspapers to gauge the response to these the 14th Paralympic Games and last night's spectacular closing ceremony. The show proved to be huge a grand finale to a sensational summer, with both games being seen by most as the same, comparable celebration of sport... possibly for the first time.
It's been an occasion for the United Kingdom to reflect on what a diverse set of nations it is with affection - and put its best foot forward for a new future of the Games with hope that it has inspired a generation to think and act inclusively. It's not about what you can't do - its about what you can. And this afternoon, both TeamGB and ParalympicsGB have merge for the eagerly anticipated 'Our Greatest Team' parade through central London. The country has been well and truly touched by all the triumphs and drama of the last 10 days. What will we do with ourselves now?
From the onset, a visionary opening film introduced an epic cast of monsters and machines for the show last night. After parading into the stadium emitting smoke, fire and many visual effects, a backdrop was set for a powerful, robust ceremony. No wonder headliners Coldplay turned down the Olympic ceremonies in favour to take part in this. In person the show was quite a spectacle and with thousands of performers as ever, a feast for the eyes.
Along with all other Paralympic nations, the Union Flag was carried into the stadium by Sarah Storey and David Weir (as nominated by the other GB athletes) to form a unifying heart around the field, which glowed to rapturous applause.
The theme of the evening? 'Festival of the Flame' - A journey through the rituals, the seasons, the celebrations that breath life into our communities through the year, marked by an extensive set by Coldplay. Special guests Rihanna and Jay Z also collaborated throughout the evening to complete another world class lineup, with yet more aerialists, many disabled performers and stunt people during the 2 hour+ show.
As the evening drew to a close, a huge ensemble cast sang 'Paradise', with the usual customary fireworks, but this time a massive display for the Thames Festival along the South Bank and Tower Bridge joined in to show the world what status the games have now achieved thanks to being in London. The cauldron lowered, Jonnie Peacock and Ellie Simmonds captured the diminishing flame to let it live on beyond the games in a final fire-ridden send off engulfing the stadium.
As we all now look forward to Rio 2016 (quite a lacklustre presentation from them it has to be said) all eyes are on Brazil to progress the movement yet further - quite a challenge after our once in a lifetime, record breaking stint as host city. London 2012 - some act to follow.
Article and photo provided by Chris Snelling @chrissnelling
- Comments: Be the first to comment