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Rio 2016: Brazil dances at closing ceremony as Olympic flag handed over to Tokyo

Bye bye Rio 2016. Hello Tokoyo 2020. The Rio Olympics ended with a carnival-inspired closing ceremony. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were officially a go with the symbolic handover of the Olympic flag. Eduardo Paes, Rio Mayer, returned it to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach before it was passed over to Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike.

There was a sense of pride. There was the relief of having concluded South America\'s first first Games. There were strong winds and sporadic rains at the Maracana Stadium. Then there was not an empty seat. All that converged for at the Rio Olympics closing ceremony as Brazil marked goodbye to sixteen days of drama, both on and off the field. It was one big bash. The ceremony, lasting almost three hours, celebrated the arts of Brazil and a 12-minute showcase of Tokyo.

The closing ceremony, was a more low-key version of the opening. The theme of the show was "Brazilians can do with their bare hands". This was an ode to Brazil\'s emerging economy and fifth most populous nation.

Dancers were dressed in colourful feathers, fluomg over Rio\'s world famous landmarks. From the shapes of the arches of Lapa to that of iconic Sugarloaf Mountain and then finally to the official 2016 symbol and forming the five Olympic rings.

Samba legend Martinho da Vila was on hand to serenade the crowd with "Carinhoso" ("Affectionate").

The closing ceremony, just like the opening, featured a parade of nation, this time with different flag bearers of all nations. The athletes poured into the stadium, under the rain, waving their fflags, shaking their body to the samba and clicking selfies. The British athletes had shoes with soles that lit up in different colours - red, white and blue. Pita Taufatofua, Tonga\'s taekwondo athlete, danced in a grass skirt on skirt while a DJ performed music. This was akin to the moment that captured worldwide attention when he was the Tongan flagbearer durirg the opening ceremony.

The Games may not have been perfect - with the pools turning green, athletes being robbed, empty seats, security scares and more - but the closing ceremony tried its best to rid Brazil of that image. Brazilians were a happy lot as on the final few days, gold medals were won in men\'s football and volleyball.

There was also the matter of having the last medal ceremony of the Games. Something the three athletes on the podium will never forget. Bach draped gold around the neck of Kenya\'s Eliud Kipchoge, winner of the men\'s marathon earlier in the day.

"These were a marvellous Olympics, in a marvellous 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."

Bach officially closed the 31st Olympiad Games after 16 days of action. The Games featured 11,303 athletes from 206 nations and one refugee team.

 
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.