By Lucy Jordan, Senior Contributing Reporter

BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes yesterday received the Olympic flag at the 2012 London games’ closing ceremony, in a symbolic gesture that signifies the beginning of the four-year run-up to the 2016 Rio games. The flag handover initiated an exuberant eight-minute Brazilian presentation during the ceremony, featuring Carnival samba-dancing street-sweeper Renato Sorriso and football superstar Pele, amongst others.

flag handover
Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, waves the Olympic flag after receiving it from London Mayor Boris Johnson at the Olympics closing ceremony in London, image recreation.

London Mayor Boris Johnson waved the flag and then passed it to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge, who in turn waved it and gave it to Mr. Paes. At a press conference on Friday, Mr. Paes had paid tribute to London, saying the city had hosted an “outstanding” games.

“We have been very impressed with the London Olympics. It has been an outstanding Games for the city and the world,“ he said.

Brazil won seventeen medals throughout the 2012 London games, at 22nd place in the overall ranking of the Games. The number exceeds the prediction of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), which hoped to achieve the same result in Beijing in 2008 (23rd place with a total of fifteen medals).

With 57 Brazilians competing in 2012 Olympic Games, gold accounted for three victories; women’s volleyball, Sarah Menezes in women’s judo, and Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti for a first ever Brazilian win in gymnastics. Brazil also won five silver and nine bronze – in eight disciplines: boxing, football (soccer), gymnastics, judo, sailing, swimming, volleyball and beach volleyball.

With the flag handover on Sunday the Brazilian portion of the closing ceremony, created by directors Cao Hamburger and Daniela Thomas and showcasing an celebration of Rio, officially began. Sorriso kicked off the Rio 2016 preview with a tribute to Carnival, dancing exuberantly to cheers from the crowd and briefly teaching samba to a British security guard.

On a recreation of Copacabana’s boardwalk, indigenous performers wearing illuminated headdresses danced and Marisa Monte played Bachiana No. 5 by Heitor Villa-Lobos. BNegão sang Maracatu Atomic by Chico Science accompanied by samba school percussion.

Seu Jorge, one of the most well-known Brazilians internationally, sang Nem Vem que Não Tem, by Wilson Simonal, and then all three musicians together sang Aquele Abraço, by Jorge Benjor. The Brazilian part of the closing ceremony ended with Mr. Sorriso meeting a man disguised in hat and coat, who revealed himself to be Pele, to loud cheers from the audience.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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  1. The passing of the Olympic flag from the mayor of London (Boris Johnson) to the mayor of Rio de Janeiro (Eduardo Paes) is now complete! This is great; next stop Brasil and my Cidade Maravilhosa! 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics!!! As a sport psychologist and a lover of Rio de Janeiro; I will be doing my part to make this Olympics fantastically super!

  2. Brazil has done well. I like Brazil. I have spent about 6 months there on many trips. I am happy that you will host the next Olympics. But what the he!! What’s up with that imagery of a belittled Black Man dressed in prison clothes and with a broom in his hand? What’s up with the white man in business attire controlling him as if he is not capable of thought himself? What the hell is up with that? What is the symbolism. I know the whites in Brazil think they are God over the blacks there, but Wow! This is the first image you show to the world? Your true colours! Of course, now I get it

  3. It is exciting to see as this would be first Olympics hosted in South America. Brazil would not only represent Brazil but the entire South America.

  4. Wow Michael, just wow. I have been to Brazil just once myself; I stayed in Rio with friends of my future mother in law. As soon as I saw the man in orange with a broom, I recognized his character as one of the dozens of hard working people who keep the streets of Rio clean. And I was only there for a week and remembered this. In my limited time there, I thought that these workers were people to be proud of, for they were helping to keep Rio “Cidade Maravilhosa”. You have obviously misinterpreted that entire segment of the show.

  5. Olympic Flag at Brazil is welcomed and they managed the event very nicely, but i welcome too Pyeongchang South Korea in 2018…..


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