The Rio Olympics ended with a spectacular closing ceremony Sunday officially handing over control for the 2020 Olympics to Tokyo. Spectators, athletes and officials braved strong winds and rains to attend the carnival-inspired ceremony.
The ceremony began 8 p.m. local time (7 p.m. EDT) at the Maracana stadium and featured parades, dances, performances by Samba legend Martinho da Vila, electronic music artist Kygo and singer Julia Michaels, human formations of Rio’s iconic landmarks Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain and an impressive showcase by Tokyo.
“These were a marvellous Olympics, in a marvellous city,” International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach reportedly said. “Over the last 16 days a united Brazil inspired the world, in difficult times for all of us, with its irresistible joy for life.”
Bach was reportedly on the receiving end of boos of sadness when he officially closed the 31st Olympic Games. Rio’s mayor Eduardo Paes returned the Olympic flag to Bach who then handed it over to Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike officially signaling the transition to the 2020 Olympics.
Tokyo nearly stole the show with its impressive showcase featuring popular fictional characters like Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Pac-man and Mario from Nintendo’s famous Mario game franchise. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe popped out of a green pipe dressed as Mario. The showcase ended with Abe holding up a glowing red ball representing Japan’s rising sun.
U.S. topped the final medal table winning 121 medals in total: 46 gold, 37 silver and 38 bronze medals. Gold medalist Simone Biles carried the U.S. flag during the ‘Heroes of the Games’ segment at the closing ceremony.
Brazilian model Izabel Goulart led the parade featuring 50 women and 200 dancers and a sound truck with 12 carnival queens. The ceremony ended with a confetti and fireworks show.