london 2012

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London 2012 Ends in Style

A spectacular closing ceremony marked the end of the Paralympics last night and officially ended the glorious Olympic summer of London 2012. The athletes were joined by Coldplay, Rihanna and Jay-Z in a packed Olympic Stadium as they all came together to celebrate the most successful Paralympics ever.

Team GB ended up with a staggering 120 medals, narrowly missing out on second spot in the overall table, behind Russia by just two gold medals. However, it was not just Britain's success that has made this the greatest Games ever, but the overwhelming support for every event in the last two weeks. Almost every session was sold out, and over 2.7 million Paralympic tickets were sold - beating targets by 200,000 and predicted sales by £10m.

Closing Ceremony

After such a stunning summer, the final closing ceremony had a lot to live up to, and it didn't disappoint (so long as you don't mind Coldplay). It was presented as a ‘festival of flame' and fire played a major part in it. Coldplay, Rihanna and Jay-Z all played sets, with1,200 disabled and able bodied performers creating stunning visuals around them.

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Catching the Paralympic Fever

As the Paralympic games in London come to a close many (including myself) have been touched by the athletes' fortitude and the endearing spirit of both games.

Not one for sport, I normally stay clear of tuning into any sporting event, let alone attending a match, though after an incredible night of sport at the Excel Centre I've truly been converted.

Visiting any of the Olympic venues or park is a great outing alone, but I was lucky enough to get an evening pass to view some of the world's best Paralympic teams competing in men's sitting volleyball.

A packed arena comprised of locals and visitors, all cheering on Brazil and Team GB. As they geared up to represent their respective nations, scores of fans, mainly Londoners, proudly began to chant.

I was suddenly immersed into the most alien thing to me- the competitive zone of the spectator. Thankfully for me my home team were playing and before I knew it, a sense of relentless pride took over me and I was consumed by the spectacle.

Despite the festive atmosphere, which to my amusement involved a DJ playing popular music during every interval and point of the game, Great Britain struggled to defeat the Brazilian juggernauts.

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Golden Start to London Paralympics

The London 2012 Paralympics kicked-off on Wednesday night with a spectacular opening ceremony, before the Team GB athletes held up their side of the bargain with two gold medals on the first day.

Ceremony with a Message

The opening ceremony, whilst maybe not quite as spectacular as Danny Boyle's Olympic equivalent, was brilliant. A theme of scientific discovery and enlightenment ran throughout, and Professor Stephen Hawking was in the Olympic Stadium narrating the events going on around him. As a world-famous scientist who himself is severely disabled, he was the perfect candidate for such a role and brought with him the message: "Look at the stars and not down at your feet ... Be curious".

With the scientific theme running throughout, the ceremony started with a glowing, fiery orb that represented the Big Bang, before a pulsing mound of people came to represent the recent Higgs Boson particle discovery. There were hundreds of volunteers dancing with umbrellas, flying wheelchairs, spinning acrobats, giant human rights books and Ian McKellen reading Shakespeare. This was a ceremony that had a clear message but certainly didn't take itself too seriously.

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London 2012 In Numbers

With the London 2012 Olympics now just a fond memory, we look at the numbers of the Games. Medals, athletes, visitors- there are some amazing facts and figures that came out of London 2012. Here are some of the best:

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Top Six Most Memorable Moments of London 2012

Although the London 2012 Olympic Games have now finished, there are certain moments that people will never forget. Here we pick our six most memorable moments of the Games (with a slight British bias of course!). Click on the titles of each moment to watch them:
 

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