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Rio Olympics comes to a close

The Rio Olympics ended with a spectacular carnival-inspired closing ceremony, and the official handover to 2020 hosts Tokyo. The colorful ceremony, lasting almost three hours, celebrated Brazil’s arts and was held in a wet Maracana.

2016 Rio Olympics - Closing ceremony - Maracana - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 21/08/2016. Performers take part in the closing ceremony. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

2016 Rio Olympics – Closing ceremony – Maracana – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 21/08/2016. Performers take part in the closing ceremony. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

Among the highlights were Tokyo’s impressive showcase and a vibrant carnival parade. “These were a marvelous Olympics, in a marvelous city,” said International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach. “Over the last 16 days a united Brazil inspired the world, in difficult times for all of us, with its irresistible joy for life.”

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Bach officially closed the Games of the 31st Olympiad after 16 days of competition, featuring 11,303 athletes from 206 nations and a refugee team. One of the biggest cheers of the night came when Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared dressed as computer game character Super Mario, rising out of a huge green pipe in the stadium.

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The ceremony, watched by billions around the world, featured the parade of athletes and a dramatic extinguishing of the Olympic flame.

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