Goodbye London 2012

       Lord Sebastian Coe                                       Photo: LOCOG/Justin Setterfield

As the world gathered for a global goodbye to London 2012 at the Paralympic Games closing ceremony, Organising Committee Chair Sebastian Coe paid tribute to the ‘superhuman’ efforts of everyone who competed and contributed to the Games that inspired the world.

'On behalf of London 2012, I would like to acknowledge the contributions made by millions of people across London, the United Kingdom and around the world to the Paralympic Games and the Olympic Games, especially the athletes and the volunteers,' Coe said.

The London 2012 Games marked a special period in London’s history, in international sport and the global community.

'This was a unique time when sport seemed to rule the world, and people everywhere were transfixed by the joy of sport,' Coe said.

'We felt the uplifting spirit that distinguishes the Olympic and Paralympic Games from other sporting events, and we witnessed how sport can breakdown barriers and extend the boundaries of human achievement.'

The athletes ignited the flame that ignited the Games and united the world.

'The athletes performed at an awe-inspiring level and almost always with grace and sportsmanship whether they won or lost. We had a plethora of world records, and Olympic and Paralympic records that we could marvel at,' Coe said.

After starring in Beijing, athletes like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Sarah Storey, Esther Vergeer, Ellie Simmonds, Oscar Pstorius, Natalie Du Toit, David Weir, Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and others became legends in London.

'We also saw new local and international sporting heroes and role models emerge in London including Mo Farah, David Rudisha, Laura Trott, Anna Cockcroft, Missy Franklin, Jonnie Peackock, Nicola Adams, and China’s Yang Yang and many others,' Coe said (maybe Charlotte Dujardin and the British showjumping team deserved a mention here, Seb?)


Young Charlotte Dujardin will no doubt inspire a generation of riders around the world   Photo: Kit Houghton/FEI

'This is the legacy of inspiration we were looking for. The athletes and the spectators have been extraordinary and we owe them a great deal – their determination, their talent, their passion and their engagement.'  

London 2012 is proud to have delivered on the vision that the bid team, led by Coe, outlined in Singapore in 2005, and we inspired a generation.

'Children and young people around the world have marvelled at the performances of the athletes and been inspired to go beyond their best, and beyond what they thought they could ever achieve in the classroom and in their communities,' Coe said.

'Thanks to the athletes, young people know it is possible to triumph over adversity, to challenge and then change their circumstances and to achieve great things.'

Coe praised the imagination, creativity, and daring of Paralympic athletes and sporting performances in his closing ceremony address this evening.

'Incredible people have performed feats we hardly thought possible,' Coe said. 'Our minds were opened to what people can do, and to what can be achieved by sheer talent and determination.'

The closing ceremony marked the finale of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which were built on a vision to use the power of the Games to inspire lasting change.

This included attitudes towards disability, which have improved as a result of the Paralympic Games according to new research showing over 80% of people agree that the London 2012 Paralympic Games has demonstrated athlete’s abilities ahead of their disabilities:

• 1 in 3 UK adults say the London 2012 Paralympics has changed their attitude towards people with disabilities;
• 65% agree the Paralympics have delivered a breakthrough in the way disabled people are viewed in this country – up from a 40% expectation in June 2010;
• 74% agree that the Paralympic Games has shown the world how to treat disabled people with respect and equality, up from a 52% expectation set in June 2010; and
• that the Paralympic Games is about ability, not disability – and are about what people can do, not what they can’t do.

"We will never think of sport the same way and we will never think of disability the same way,” Coe said. “The Paralympians have lifted the clouds of limitation.”

In a triumph of international cooperation and goodwill, the London 2012 Games united the world like never before with a total of 204 countries and territories attending Olympic and Paralympic Games – more than the United Nations. 

In a reference to the lyrics “nobody said it was easy”, in the Coldplay song The Scientist, performed at this evening’s closing ceremony, Coe praised the vital role played by key Games stakeholders in staging the Games, including the IOC, the IPC, the British Government, Mayor of London, sponsors and partners as well as international sporting federations and national Olympic and Paralympic committees.

“Together, we delivered Games for our world and Games of our times,” Coe said.