After sixteen days of events showcasing athleticism of unparalleled quality, the 2012 Games tonight came to an end with an epic closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in London. Somehow, tonight's proceedings made the opening festivities pale in comparison; there was a dazzling (and often bemusing) array of dancing, catwalking (fashion!), and warbling boy bands new and old on display. Oh, and who can forget that giant inflatable octopus? Who can explain that giant inflatable octopus?
Classic British music filled the ceremony, with performances from iconic bands and artists like the Spice Girls (who performed, as spoiled, on glittery taxi cabs), The Who, George Michael, and the Pet Shop Boys as well as by newer artists like Tinie Tempah, Emeli Sandé, and One Direction. (Yes, Jessie J got to sing twice, but the less said about that the better, surely?) Choirs sung, ballet dancers pirouetted, the Brazilian contingent — as hosts of the 2016 Games — put on a bizarre song and dance of their own, and British supermodels including Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn, and more emerged from inside billboards on trucks to strut along a catwalk in white and gold gowns. There were lots of emotional video montages showcasing the Games' highlights, and of course a lengthy segment involving all the athletes who'd taken part walking around the stadium and mugging for the cameras.
It's fair to say that Brits went wild for the Games — particularly as many of the media's doom and gloom predictions (and that means you too, Mitt Romney) that forecasted crises here, there, and everywhere failed to come to pass. It didn't hurt that Team GB won more medals than ever. The enthusiasm, patriotism, and the real sense of fun remained at the forefront of the closing ceremony, if tinged with a little bit of melancholy and a little bit more of Londoners' typical brusqueness now that things are set to return to normal in the capital. Savor the good times with our slideshow of all the looks, performances, and, of course, the moments that just made no sense.