Rio Closing Ceremony Feels Like Carnival
Brazil bids farewell to the games
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 21, 2016 11:58 PM CDT
Spectators sit beside the cauldron with the Olympic flame prior to the closing ceremony in the Maracana stadium at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016.   (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
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(Newser) – Shaking to samba and expressing a sense of longing with uniquely Brazilian words, Olympians and fans said goodbye to the Rio Games with one last big bash that was both revelatory and a sigh of relief. The closing ceremony Sunday celebrated the 16-day spectacle that was the Rio Games, which combined numerous highlights with ugly and even bizarre episodes that sometimes overshadowed competition, the AP reports. Cariocas—as Rio's residents are known—weren't swayed by the issues that led up to these Olympics, and braved rain and strong winds on the final night to cap their moment in the worldwide spotlight. While South America's first Olympics are over, safely and with a grandiose finale, many problems remain. Still, Brazil showed Sunday it still definitely knows how to party.

"These were marvelous Olympic Games in the 'marvelous city,'" said International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, playing off the "cidade maravilhosa" nickname of Brazil's postcard city of inviting coastlines, year-round sun and lush tropical vegetation. The closing ceremony in iconic Maracana Stadium was also meant to take care of some business—formally signaling the transition to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan. But Sunday's party was all about Brazil, designed to be more low-key than the opening, which focused heavily on Rio. The theme, "Brazilians can do with their bare hands," was a nod to the emerging economy of the world's fifth most populous nation. Dressed in colorful feathers, dozens of dancers formed in the shape of the arches of Lapa, a popular area of Rio akin to Roman ruins, then morphed to make the shape of iconic Sugarloaf before quickly changing again, this time to the official 2016 symbol. Check out the image gallery or click for more details from the ceremony.

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