‘Emotional’ celebration to close Games

2012-09-08 15:40

London 2012 organisers yesterday promised an emotional celebration to bid farewell to the Olympics and Paralympics, as the curtain falls on a summer feast of elite sport in the British capital.

Coldplay will headline tonight’s show, entitled Festival of the Flame, which will draw heavily on Britain’s rich history of cultural, musical and seasonal festivals, artistic director Kim Gavin told a news conference.

“The only narrative we have got is that we are taken through the seasons to the Coldplay music. It’s not just a concert and we are not
just looking at Coldplay,” he added.

“We have got fantastic visuals and amazing stunts going on. It’s a celebration and recognition of people coming together.

“What we have tried to do is bring something that feels very raw.

“We have taken the flame, being part of and representing the human spirit that brings so much power to these Games, and really focused on the flame going out. That’s our emotion.”

Final rehearsals for the closing ceremony took place in east London on Friday and included the British band fronted by Chris Martin, who is married to Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow, Gavin added.

The executive producer for all four Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies, Stephen Daldry, said Coldplay had been paid the £1 (R13) contractual fee to perform, “VAT included”.

One sequence would include injured British former armed forces personnel and the Help for Heroes charity, which helps to rehabilitate wounded veterans from battlefield injuries in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, he said.

Their contribution will be “devastatingly emotional”, he said.

Wounded former military personnel have been a key feature of the Paralympics.

On Friday, former US Navy lieutenant Bradley Snyder won swimming gold on the first anniversary of the explosion in Afghanistan
that blinded him.

The ceremony begins at 7.30pm (SA time) and will also be streamed live on the internet, including on the website of the International Paralympic Committee, www.paralympic.org.

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