Coldplay, Rihanna, Jay-Z close London Paralympics

Associated Press
Singer Rihanna performs with Chris Martin lead vocals of the British rock band Coldplay during the closing ceremony for the 2012 Paralympics games, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
.

View gallery

LONDON (AP) — Farewell, London. Good luck matching that, Rio.

Coldplay, Rihanna and Jay-Z rocked the Olympic Stadium on Sunday night to give the biggest-ever Paralympic Games a rousing send-off, wrapping up an unforgettable summer of sports in Britain.

The three-hour party at the packed 80,000-seat arena in east London gave the world a chance to celebrate 11 days of Paralympic competition that have shifted perceptions and shattered stereotypes about the disabled.

"In this country, we will never think of sport the same way and we will never think of disability the same way," said Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London organizing committee. "The Paralympians have lifted the cloud of limitation."

Central to the closing ceremony — called the "Festival of the Flame" — were the 4,200 Paralympians from 164 nations who encircled the field of play from the start, waving flags and taking in the extraordinary atmosphere. By the end of the extravaganza, they created an international mosh pit in front of the stage as volleys of fireworks rocketed above.

"I think it's been an absolute triumph from start to finish," said British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose disabled son Ivan died in 2009. "I think back to Ivan. As every parent, you think about all the things they can't do, but at the Paralympics they are superhuman, you see all the things they can do.

"It's been a golden summer of British sport."

Coming after a hugely successful Olympic Games, the 2012 Paralympics broke all records, with 2.7 million spectators cramming into venues, more than $70 million raised in ticket sales and the games broadcast in more than 100 countries. They are unprecedented figures as the British public displayed an enthusiasm previously unseen in the 52-year history of the Paralympics.

The wide exposure introduced the world to Paralympians such as Dutch wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer — who extended her nine-year unbeaten streak to 470 matches by winning the women's singles — and David Weir, a British wheelchair racer who won four golds in his home city.

It also enhanced the reputation of iconic South African double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who became the first track athlete to compete in both games. He won two golds in the Paralympics, including in the 4x100-meter relay which was one of 251 world records broken at these games.

"I think people are going to look back at this Paralympic Games and for the first time really, truly believe that Paralympic sport is not just inspirational, it's hard-core sport," said Pistorius, who drew a rousing cheer as his image was displayed in a montage of Paralympians on the big screen.

A moving tribute to wounded British servicemen and members of the British army opened the show. Luke Sinnott, a captain who lost both legs from above the knee in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2010, hung the Union Flag at the top of flagpole in the middle of the stadium. Rory Mackenzie, a serviceman who lost his leg on patrol in roadside bomb blast, gave a sonorous introduction to the theme of the four seasons that was at the heart of the show.

Proud flag-bearers from all competing nations marched in before a Mad Max-style parade of 25 trucks and motorcycles, in shapes that included peacocks and fish, stormed the stadium and kick-started Coldplay's set.

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin belted out top-selling hits like "Clocks," ''Viva La Vida" and "Paradise."

"Nobody said it was easy," a lyric from the moving song "The Scientist," seemed particularly apt for the occasion.

Coldplay, who were given a standing ovation when they performed their final song "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall," said: "We can't actually imagine a bigger honor" than playing at the Paralympics in their home city.

Artistic director Kim Gavin created an electric production. White confetti rained down as snow, black crows on stilts encircled the stage, flaming butterflies swirled in the air and a flying motorbike driven by highwire artist Laszlo Simet with disabled dancer Lyndsay Adams powered across the stadium.

"Being at the Paralympics is the biggest honor," said Rihanna, who first appeared dressed in a flowing orange gown before changing to a see-through black top and dark sunglasses. "These athletes are gladiators and are a true inspiration to me."

She sang "We Found Love" while swinging in a chair high above the stage, a performance sure to give her insurer a heart attack.

Such was the global attraction of performing at the closing ceremony that organizers were able to turn down approaches from other major artists — but they wouldn't name names. Sunday night's stars, artists who have sold millions of records, were being paid a nominal one pound ($1.60) to play.

The ceremony finished with the cauldron — made up of 200 petals — being extinguished, ending the games in London and passing the baton to Rio de Janeiro for 2016. The handover saw Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes wave the Paralympic flag with abandon before Brazilian pop stars danced onto the stage.

Speaker after speaker acknowledged that after London, the Paralympics will never be the same.

"On Aug. 29, we opened with the theme of 'Enlightenment,'" said Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee. "Tonight, we are enlightened and armed with a superior knowledge of what can be achieved. The legacy of these games will be long-lasting."

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Kim Jong Un’s Wife Makes First Public Appearance In Months

      Ri Sol Ju was last seen in public on March 28 this year and her absence had sparked rumors of pregnancy while some said she may have had a serious falling out with the North Korean leader.

      International Business Times
    • Trump targets another company, draws Sanders' criticism

      By Doina Chiacu WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump drew a rebuke from former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Saturday, after turning his attention to another Indiana company planning a move to Mexico. "Rexnord of Indiana is moving to Mexico and rather viciously firing all of its 300 workers. Rexnord Corp , an industrial supplier based in Milwaukee, announced plans in October to move a bearing plant, and its 300 jobs, from Indianapolis to Mexico, employees told the Indianapolis Star at the time.

      Reuters
    • NASA photo reveals a startling 300-foot-wide rift in Antarctic Ice Shelf

      The breakup of the massive Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica is getting closer and will eventually produce an iceberg the size of Delaware prowling the Southern Ocean, according to new NASA data.  On Friday, NASA released an astonishing new image taken by researchers flying above the ice shelf on Nov. 10 showing the crack is getting longer, deeper and wider. Scientists think it will eventually cause a large section of the shelf to break off. The scientists associated with a NASA field campaign known as Operation IceBridge measured the Larsen C fracture to be about 70 miles long, more than 300 feet wide and about a third of a mile deep.  SEE ALSO: With a collapsing West Antarctica, sea level rise may be twice as high as we thought "The crack completely cuts through the Ice Shelf but it does not go all the way across it – once it does, it will produce an iceberg roughly the size of the state of Delaware," NASA said in a press release.  View is of a rift in the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C ice shelf from our airborne survey of polar ice: https://t.co/VgjxopHHLI @NASA_ICE pic.twitter.com/gt5mpHqbxn — NASA (@NASA) December 3, 2016 When this iceberg calving event happens,  likely within the next decade, it will be the largest calving event in Antarctica since 2000, the third biggest such event ever recorded and the largest from this particular ice shelf, scientists say.  Larsen C lies next to a smaller ice shelf that disintegrated in 2002 after developing a crack similar to the one now growing in Larsen C. Map of Antarctica showing the amount of melting of ice shelves from below. Blue shades represent melt rates of greater than 5 meters (16.4 feet) per year. Arrow points to Larsen C Ice Shelf. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UC Irvine/Columbia University Ice shelves breaking off into icebergs don't directly increase sea levels, since their ice is already resting in the ocean like an ice cube in a glass.  However, because they act like doorstops to the land-based ice behind them, when the shelves give way, the glaciers can begin moving into the sea. This adds new water to the ocean and therefore increases sea levels.  The rift is likely to lead to an iceberg breaking off, which will remove about 10% of the ice shelf’s area pic.twitter.com/uu1KKWG0WP — Project MIDAS (@MIDASOnIce) August 18, 2016 In the case of Larsen C, once the rift extends all the way across the shelf and breaks off the section of ice, a larger area of ice that is about the size of Scotland will destabilize and be at greater risk for melting, according to other research. In August, a British research team monitoring the Larsen C Ice Shelf found that the rift had expanded by 14 miles between March and August of 2016. This was the fastest rate of expansion the researchers had observed. Larsen B Ice Shelf before its breakup in 2002. Image: nasa Larsen B Ice Shelf after its breakup in 2002. Image: nasa The Larsen C Ice Shelf is the most northerly of the remaining major Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves. This part of Antarctica has been warming rapidly in recent years due to a combination of increasing air and sea temperatures.  The nearby Larsen B Ice Shelf made worldwide headlines in 2002 when it broke up after a similar process of rift-induced iceberg calving. The Larsen B event was featured in the opening scenes of the sci-fi climate change-related disaster film, The Day After Tomorrow . BONUS: New Zealand's earthquake literally cracked the Earth open

      Mashable
    • Netanyahu to discuss 'bad' Iran deal with Trump, Kerry stresses settlements

      By Jeffrey Heller and Arshad Mohammed JERUSALEM/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he would discuss with Donald Trump the West's "bad" nuclear deal with Iran after the U.S. president-elect enters the White House. Speaking separately to a conference in Washington, Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry clashed over the Iran deal and Israel's settlement construction on the occupied West Bank, which Kerry depicted as an obstacle to peace. "Israel is committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

      Reuters
    • Lone gunman kills three women in Finnish town

      A lone gunman shot dead three women, a local official and two journalists, in an attack in a small town in Finland, a country with one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world. The attack took place as the women were leaving a restaurant in the southeastern lakeside town of Imatra near the Russian border, and police said they may have been targeted at random. Finland enjoys relatively low crime rates compared to other European nations but, with many Finns keen hunters, it has one of the biggest gun ownership rates in the world.

      AFP
    • Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd Kicked Out of Lamaze Class

      Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd are apparently too cool for school

      People
    • Philippines vice president quits cabinet, citing plot to 'steal' job

      Philippines Vice President Leni Robredo announced on Sunday she would resign from her cabinet post, citing "major differences" with President Rodrigo Duterte and suspicions that a plot was underway to unseat her from the number two job. Robredo is refusing to step down as vice president but said she decided to quit as Housing Secretary after receiving a text message from another minister, telling her on Duterte's behalf to "desist from attending all cabinet meetings" from Monday. The president and vice president are elected in separate contests in the Philippines and Robredo was not Duterte's running mate.

      Reuters
    • Qatar Airways jet makes emergency landing in Azores

      A Qatar Airways jet made an an emergency landing at a Portuguese military base in the Azores islands Sunday after heavy turbulence injured passengers. The Boeing 777, bound from Washington to Doha, was re-routed during a storm to the Azores, a Portuguese territory in the North Atlantic, and landed at the Lajes Air Base. Officials and witnesses said the plane had dropped steeply in altitude, hurling several passengers out of their seats and causing one traveller to suffer heart trouble.

      AFP
    • Police use 'fake news' in sting aimed at California gang

      Police investigating a notorious gang in a city on California's central coast issued a fake press release that the chief credited with saving two men by deceiving gang members who wanted to kill them, ...

      Associated Press
    • Correction: Campus Stabbing-California story

      LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a story Dec. 3 about the fatal stabbing of a professor, The Associated Press misidentified the professor's school in the first paragraph in some versions. The professor was from the University of Southern California, not the University of California.

      Associated Press
    • Woman delivers epic Twitter takedown after Trump attacks ‘SNL’

      “Just tried watching Saturday Night Live — unwatchable!” Trump tweeted, perhaps proving the sketch’s point. Just tried watching Saturday Night Live – unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. A Missouri woman, Danielle Muscato, delivered an epic, profanity-laced response that went viral.

      Yahoo News
    • Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea

      BANGKOK (AP) — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves:

      Associated Press 36 min ago
    • Petraeus on His Mishandling of Classified Information: 'I Made a Serious Mistake'

      The former general is under consideration for secretary of state.

      ABC News q
    • Abandoned lunatic asylum (14 photos)

      These creepy snapshots of an eerie abandoned asylum will send a shiver down your spine. The old building, a former lunatic asylum in Columbia, South Carolina, opened in 1821, and was used to house traumatized veterans from the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865. But the hospital is now in ruins after it was left to crumble – the insides have been stripped bare, with nothing left but peeling paintwork and gratified walls. These eerie pictures were taken by urban explorer Bullet, who risked life and limb to explore the old hospital. (Caters News) See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr.  

      Yahoo News Photo Staff
    • S. Korea crisis proves perils of cheating at school

      When South Korea's Park Geun-Hye looks back on the scandal-fuelled implosion of her presidency, she may reflect ruefully on what lit the first fuse -- a parent pulling strings over a child's education. Park's downfall was the result of her friendship with Choi Soon-Sil -- a secretive, long-time confidante who stands accused of meddling in state affairs, squeezing tens of millions of dollars from local companies and amassing a fortune by leveraging her ties to the president. It's a damning list of charges, but one that may never have come to light but for a fatal misstep by Choi two years ago in using her influence to secure her daughter's admission to an elite university.

      AFP
    • FBI captures a Top 10 Most Wanted fugitive in Los Angeles

      Jones was wanted in connection with an early-morning shootout with a rival gang on October 15 that left four people dead and 10 wounded at a Los Angeles-area house that was being used as a restaurant, the FBI said in a statement. The suspect was captured during a pursuit, the agency's field office in Los Angeles said on Twitter, without giving any other details on his arrest. FBI officials were not immediately available for comment.

      Reuters
    • Erdogan wants trade with Russia, China in local currencies

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was moving towards allowing trade with Russia, China and Iran to be conducted in local currencies, as he continues his efforts to strengthen the falling lira. "If we buy something from them, we will use their money, if they buy something from us, they will use our currency," he said, ahead of a trip by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim to Russia for meetings on Tuesday. Erdogan -- who previously said discussions were underway with Moscow, Beijing and Tehran on the issue -- added that instructions related to this proposal had been given to the central bank.

      AFP
    • New Mexico budget crisis rears its head in courts, colleges

      SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's grinding budget crisis is taking a toll in courtrooms where overburdened attorneys have denied legal counsel to poor defendants, at museums reeling from layoffs and admission hikes, and at state universities and colleges grappling with steep spending cuts.

      Associated Press
    • LAPD Identifies USC Grad Student Who Killed Professor

      The faculty member was identified as Bosco Tjan.

      ABC News q
    • Fidel Castro laid to rest (37 photos)

      Beyond those few clues, the details of Fidel Castro’s final resting place were one of the most tightly kept secrets in Cuba. That ended on Sunday morning, when the revolutionary leader’s ashes were interred in a private ceremony and shortly afterward the world got a glimpse of a tomb that will immediately become one of the most important sites on the island. Once the ceremony ended shortly before 9 a.m., journalists and Cuban mourners were allowed into the cemetery to see the tomb, a simple round stone about 15 feet high with an emerald-colored plaque bearing Castro’s name. The tomb stood to the side of a memorial to the rebel soldiers killed in an attack that Castro led on Santiago’s Moncada barracks on July 26, 1953, and in front of the mausoleum of Cuban national hero Jose Marti. A dozen uniformed soldiers stood in front of the stone. Cuban officials have said nothing about future access to Castro’s tomb, but its apparent location alongside Marti’s, a grand site heavily visited by tourists and Cubans alike, indicates that there will be continuing of public access to the grave of the man who led Cuba for nearly 50 years and died on Nov. 25 at 90. (AP) See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr.

      Yahoo News Photo Staff