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Sunday, September 9, 2012

London : Photos of the Paralympics closing ceremony

(Courtesy of Mail Online )  - The Paralympic Closing Ceremony rocked to the sounds of Coldplay tonight as Britain's golden summer of sport drew to a close in the Olympic Stadium.
 The band provided the stirring soundtrack to a spectacular show, which marked the glittering end to 12 days of Paralympic competition in London. 
And lead singer Chris Martin was joined on stage by Rihanna to perform their collaborative hit 'Princess of China'.
Proceedings roared into life as hundreds of 'Mad Max-style' characters marched into the arena to act out a fantasy battle scene in front of 80,000 captivated spectators. 
The first act of the show featured war hero Captain Luke Sinnott, who lost his legs and an arm in a blast on the battlefields of Helmand, climbing a flagpole and proudly unfurling the Union Flag.
It was the first of many on display, as all the participating nations were paraded to a backdrop of coloured smoke flares and dancers wowed the crowd. 

Chris Martin (right) and Will Champion of Coldplay perform at the Paralympic Closing Ceremony
Rihanna performs at the Paralympics Closing Ceremony
Star attraction: Coldplay's Chris Martin (left) and Rihanna provided the soundtrack to the Paralympic Closing Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium. Coldplay performed a 12-track set list, while Martin performed a duet with Rihanna for their collaborative song 'Princess of China' 
Festival of flame: The Olympic Stadium was ablaze with fire during the spectacular Closing Ceremony, which captivated a sell-out audience of 80,000
Festival of flame: The Olympic Stadium was ablaze with fire during the spectacular Closing Ceremony, which captivated a sell-out audience of 80,000
Smoke and light: Hundreds of flares created a stunning vista inside the Olympic Stadium as the flags of all the Paralympic nations were paraded in the arena

Smoke and light: Hundreds of flares created a stunning vista inside the Olympic Stadium as the flags of all the Paralympic nations were paraded in the arena
Flaming wheels! A fiery figure of a cyclist is towed into the stadium, fitting given Great Britain's triumph in cycling events at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London
Flaming wheels! A fiery figure of a cyclist is towed into the stadium, fitting given Great Britain's triumph in cycling events at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London
The courageous Capt Sinnott, 32, lost his limbs in 2010 after volunteering to search an area 'saturated' with improvised explosive devices to protect his comrades.
Organisers described his role in the ceremony as 'a supreme feat of strength and courage'. 
Stephen Daldry, London 2012's executive producer for all the opening and closing ceremonies described the flag unveiling as 'devastatingly emotional'.
Capt Sinnott, a keen sailor, is working towards his dream of competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympics in a boat funded by Help for Heroes.
Comrades from the charity played a key role in the opening minutes of the Ceremony to support Capt Sinnott.
The team joined forces to manoeuvre a heavy-wheeled machine to raise the flagpole.
Ruling the Waves: A mechanical steamship complete with puffing smoke chimneys and metal rigging chugs into the Stadium
Ruling the Waves: A mechanical steamship complete with puffing smoke chimneys and 
metal rigging chugs into the Stadium
Inspiration: Captain Luke Sinnott, who lost his legs and an arm in Helmand, climbs a flagpole to proudly unfurl the Union Flag as the Paralympic Closing Ceremony gets underway at the Olympic Stadium in London
Inspiration: Captain Luke Sinnott, who lost his legs and an arm in Helmand, climbs a 
flagpole to proudly unfurl the Union Flag as the Paralympic Closing Ceremony gets underway at the Olympic Stadium in London
Spectacle soundtrack: Coldplay played throughout the Closing Ceremony, with songs from each of their five main albums
Spectacle soundtrack: Coldplay played throughout the Closing Ceremony, with songs from each of their five main albums
Not all Yellow: Guy Berryman (right), Chris Martin (centre) and Jonny Buckland of Coldplay perform on colourful instruments
Not all Yellow: Guy Berryman (right), Chris Martin (centre) and Jonny Buckland of Coldplay perform on colourful instruments
It was just one of a procession of fantastic vehicles straight from the pages of fiction, including giant mechanical boats and cars complete with clanking gears and puffing chimneys. 
Performers waved smoke flares of myriad colours, creating a dramatic backdrop to a fantasy battle scene between the forces of good and evil. 
The whole opening was soundtracked by British band Coldplay, who performed a number of songs from their five best-selling albums.
The band's lead singer Chris Martin was joined by Rihanna to sing their collaboration 'Princess of China'. Rihanna arrived on a mechanical steamboat and later performed her smash hit 'We Found Love'.
Earlier, 54 drummers had created an avenue through which the Earl of Wessex, representing the Queen, and International Paralympic Committee chairman Sir Philip Craven entered the stadium.
They arrived in a custom-built car that began life as a military vehicle used in Afghanistan and was driven by Captain Tony Harris, who lost his left leg below the knee when he was caught in a blast in Sangin, Afghanistan in 2009.
All four corners of the world: British flagbearers Sarah Storey and David Weir with the Union Flag in the colourful parade of nations
All four corners of the world: British flagbearers Sarah Storey and David Weir with the Union Flag in the colourful parade of nations
Purple haze: Performers wave smoke flares during the opening act of the Paralympic Closing Ceremony in front of a rapturous crowd of 80,000 spectators at the Olympic Stadium
Purple haze: Performers wave smoke flares during the opening act of the Paralympic Closing Ceremony in front of a rapturous crowd of 80,000 spectators at the Olympic Stadium
Huff and puff: One of the fantastic machines in the opening parade of the Ceremony, a kind of steam powered boat straight from the pages of a children's work of fiction
Huff and puff: One of the fantastic machines in the opening parade of the Ceremony, a kind of steam powered boat straight from the pages of a children's work of fiction
Blind autistic singer Lissa Hermans, who also performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this year, sang the National Anthem.
As the Union Flag was raised alongside the IPC flag, Hermans proudly sang 'God Save the Queen'.
The singer this year performed for the Queen and released a charity single version of the anthem to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
She has said in the past that the Queen told her she enjoyed her performance at a Dickens bicentenary event.
The 30-year-old has yet more royal connections as a member of the Chickenshed Theatre, a pet cause of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Hermans has been a member of the theatre since she was seven.
Grand entrance: Rihanna entered the stage on a mechanical steam ship, her vivid red dress contrasting with the rusting hunk of metal
Grand entrance: Rihanna entered the stage on a mechanical steam ship, her vivid red dress contrasting with the rusting hunk of metal
Duet: Rihanna is helped 'ashore' from her ship by Coldplay's Chris Martin as they performed their collaborative song 'Princess of China'
Duet: Rihanna is helped 'ashore' from her ship by Coldplay's Chris Martin as they performed their collaborative song 'Princess of China'
Tonight's show, which is officially called 'The Festival of Flame,' has much to live up to after the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Olympics and the Opening Ceremony for the Paralympics each enjoyed great acclaim.
It is being organised by Kim Gavin, who was involved in the planning for the Olympics Closing Ceremony last month.
Before the Olympics came to London, he was best known for his work as a choreographer for Take That.
Plans for the show have been shrouded in mystery, but the festivities are rumoured to be based on a theme of the elements - earth, wind, fire and water.
Royal wave: Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, makes his entrance in a vehicle rather less salubrious than he might normally be used to
Royal wave: Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, makes his entrance in a vehicle rather less salubrious than he might normally be used to
Taking flight! Another one of the remarkable vehicles in the parade which opened the Ceremony as part of a fantasy battle scene between good and evil
Taking flight! Another one of the remarkable vehicles in the parade which opened the Ceremony as part of a fantasy battle scene between good and evil
Time has run out: A vehicle representing 'Clocks' glistened gold as it circled the arena at the start of the Closing Ceremony performances
Time has run out: A vehicle representing 'Clocks' glistened gold as it circled the arena at the start of the Closing Ceremony performances
Advance! A rusty mechanical horse rode by a knight in shining armour enters the stadium in the opening procession of fantasy vehicles
Advance! A rusty mechanical horse rode by a knight in shining armour enters the stadium in the opening procession of fantasy vehicles
Quadruple gold medal winners David Weir and Sarah Storey had the honour of carrying the Union Flag into the Olympic Stadium.
Wheelchair racer Weir - nicknamed The Weirwolf - mastered the 800m, 1500m, 5000m and marathon distances for a haul of four golds.
Cyclist Storey dominated both in the Velodrome with triumphs in the individual pursuit and 500m time trial and on the road by taking the Time Trial and the Road Race.
The move to appoint two to carry the Union Flag is a break from protocol, which normally sees one person bestowed with the honour.
Chef de mission Craig Hunter said: 'During the London 2012 Paralympic Games, ParalympicsGB has witnessed some outstanding performances, and most notably from Sarah Storey and David Weir.
'These athletes represent the spirit of Paralympic athleticism.'
Master of ceremonies: soldier Rory MacKenzie introduced the procession of 'Mad Max' characters. MacKenzie had his leg blown off by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq
Master of ceremonies: soldier Rory MacKenzie introduced the procession of 'Mad Max' characters. MacKenzie had his leg blown off by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq
Proud moment: London Games organiser Lord Coe, Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg watch the Closing Ceremony
Proud moment: London Games organiser Lord Coe, Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg watch the Closing Ceremony
What an entrance! Hundreds of performers carry torches into the Olympic Stadium to mark the beginning of the Paralympic Closing Ceremony. The spectacle got underway with a fantasy battle scene involving hundreds of Mad Max-style characters
What an entrance! Hundreds of performers carry torches into the Olympic Stadium to mark the beginning of the Paralympic Closing Ceremony. The spectacle got underway with a fantasy battle scene involving hundreds of Mad Max-style characters
Flaming! One of the metal vehicles used to get the Closing Ceremony underway. The procession of fantastic vehicles formed a cut-scene that was played on the big screens in the Stadium and screened to television audiences around the world
Flaming! One of the metal vehicles used to get the Closing Ceremony underway. The procession of fantastic vehicles formed a cut-scene that was played on the big screens in the Stadium and screened to television audiences around the world
A new orchestra comprising 17 performers with disabilities will be among the acts playing later in the Ceremony, and spectators can expect to see a fireworks display to rival the previous three ceremonies'.
There were some very poignant moments, with representatives from the armed forces charity Help for Heroes due to be involved in the unveiling of a giant Union flag.
Several British Paralympians who competed in the Games are current or former military personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin said; 'Being asked to play at the closing celebrations for the Paralympic athletes in London is such a great honour for us.
'It will be one of the biggest nights of our lives and we're very excited to try to create a performance for the last night of the games that will close London 2012 in style.'
Golden Days: A spectacular sunset over the Olympic Stadium and the Orbit sculpture brings to an end 12 days of remarkable Paralympic competition in Stratford
Golden Days: A spectacular sunset over the Olympic Stadium and the Orbit sculpture brings to an end 12 days of remarkable Paralympic competition in Stratford
Full house: Spectators stream into the Olympic Park for Sunday night's Paralympic closing ceremony. Some 80,000 tickets have been sold for the showpiece finale
Full house: Spectators stream into the Olympic Park for Sunday night's Paralympic closing ceremony. Some 80,000 tickets have been sold for the showpiece finale
Sitting pretty: Rihanna in rehearsals for the Paralympic Closing Ceremony. As with the other Olympic and Paralympic ceremonies this summer, the exact details and set list remain top secret
Sitting pretty: Rihanna in rehearsals for the Paralympic Closing Ceremony. As with the other Olympic and Paralympic ceremonies this summer, the exact details and set list remain top secret

Blue wonder: The Olympic Stadium roof is illuminated by lights in the build-up to the Paralympic Closing Ceremony. The crowd of 80,000 were in their seats well before sunset in anticipation of the spectacle to come
Blue wonder: The Olympic Stadium roof is illuminated by lights in the build-up to the Paralympic Closing Ceremony. The crowd of 80,000 were in their seats well before sunset in anticipation of the spectacle to come
The event will also herald the beginning of a major operation to transform the Olympic Park into a site including 257 acres of open space, 6.5km of waterways, nine direct rail links, five world-class sports venues and five new neighbourhoods.
After the ceremony, work will begin to take down the temporary sports venues dotted about the Olympic Park, such as the Basketball Arena and the Riverside Arena, which hosted hockey matches.
Having been radically transformed for the Games, the site in Stratford, East London, will undergo many other great changes over the next 18 months as it becomes the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The site, a pocket of largely industrial wasteland in a deprived stretch of London's east end, was the subject of the biggest and most complex compulsory purchase orders in British history.
The new-look park is set to reopen to the public in phases from July 27 next year - a year after the opening of the London 2012 Olympics.
It will be designed to host 2,000 events a year and planners have set a target for 9.3million visitors to pass through it annually from 2016.
Major international competitions are to be held at the Olympic Stadium - even though its new tenants are yet to be confirmed.
Four bids are in the running to make the showpiece venue their new home after the Games.
Bids from West Ham United, Leyton Orient, Intelligent Transport Services in association with Formula One, and UCFB College of Football Business will be assessed to ensure they are compliant, before being evaluated ahead of negotiations, according to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC).
The stadium is to become the new national home for athletics and to host the IAAF 2017 World Athletics Championships.
Up to 20,000 journalists used the venue during the Games. Afterwards, the Broadcast Centre will offer 95,000 sq ft of office space over five floors and 575,000 sq ft of commercial space over two floors.
The five-storey press centre will provide about 317,000 sq ft of prime office space with the potential for retail use on the ground floor.
Estimates suggest 800,000 visitors a year will use the Aquatics Centre when the Park reopens.
Finishing touches: A multitude of volunteers make the final preparations on the stage for the Closing Ceremony, which has been described as a 'Festival of flame'
Finishing touches: A multitude of volunteers make the final preparations on the stage for the Closing Ceremony, which has been described as a 'Festival of flame'
Two temporary wings will be stripped away to cut the capacity to 2,500 after the Games, although the LLDC said it will be possible to increase the venue capacity for major competitions.
It had a 17,500-capacity for the Games, under a 160m x 80m wave-like roof which has a longer single span than Heathrow Terminal 5.
It features a 50m competition pool, a 25m competition diving pool, a 50m warm-up pool and a 'dry' warm-up area for divers.
Users will range from community clubs to schools and elite swimmers, and the venue's moveable booms and floors can be shifted to create different depths and pool sizes to fit swimmers of various abilities and experience.
A creche, changing facilities, a cafe and a new public plaza in front of the building are some of the features that will be installed.
Greenwich Leisure Limited has been named as the operator of this venue and also the Copper Box, where the handball and some modern pentathlon disciplines were held.
The Copper Box is to become a multi-use sports centre for the community, athlete training and events.
Its flexible design and retractable seating mean it will be suitable for activities ranging from international competition to community sports.
The first homes on the Park are planned to be ready at the end of 2014.
The North Park, a nature-themed community sector and playground also including a 7,500-capacity multi-use sport, entertainment and community arena, will be the first area to reopen in July next year.
The South Plaza, sitting between the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre and the ArcelorMittal Orbit, is due to open at Easter 2014.
At this point visitors will have access to the whole of the park.