Eyes on London, Aug. 12 edition


Click HERE to check out the Daily Post's complete coverage of the 2012 Olympics, including Gwinnett athletes competing in the Summer Games.

LONDON — Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of the games to you:


The London Olympics have ended. IOC President Jacques Rogge just pronounced them closed.

"We will never forget the smiles, the kindness and the support of the wonderful volunteers, the much-needed heroes of these games. You, the spectators and the public, provided the soundtrack for these games," Rogge says.

He adds: "You have shown the world the best of British hospitality."

And this: "These were happy and glorious games."

He concluded: "I declare the games of the 30th Olympiad closed."

Next stop for the Summer Games: Rio 2016.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb


"We lit the flame and we lit up the world," says London organizing committee chief Sebastian Coe. He's addressing the jam-packed Olympic Stadium during the waning moments of the closing ceremony.

"For the third time in its history, London was granted the trust of the Olympic movement. And once again we have shown ourselves worthy of that trust," he says. His voice is emotional.

The man who has spent the last seven years organizing London's games summed it up with these words: "When our time came, Britain, we did it right."

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb


London's fashion sense has always avoided matchy-matchy — but the closing ceremony is bringing that sensibility to a whole new level.

Muse was blinding in a black glitter suit, while Jessie J belted out Queen's songs in a one-legged taupe glitter catsuit.

Russell Brand sported tight purple-and-black striped pants with his top hat as he gyrated (and sang! who knew) while Annie Lennox crooned in a black lace shawl over a red "Oliver"-like bordello dress.

Not exactly office wear.

— Sheila Norman-Culp — Twitter http://twitter.com/snormanculp


Only one man can do what Freddie Mercury can do — Freddie Mercury. He just had to make an appearance here. Even if it was virtual.

In Olympic Stadium on Sunday night, he was represented on big screens showing a video of his 1986 performance. His Queen bandmate Brian May has almost assumed the role of conductor at big British events in recent years. He played for the actual Queen on the roof of Buckingham palace and now he is playing the Olympic Stadium.

Every member of the audience is clapping. May is conducting.

Britain to the world: "We Will Rock You."

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb


The Spice Girls are back. They're slightly less sporty and some of them are a little bit more posh. But their reunion has set British tongues wagging for weeks with rumors all over the tabloids.

Many of the athletes and much of the audience will have grown up with the sound of the platform-wearing quintet, myself included.

The biggest cheer of the night, and by far. Even Posh has put away her pout.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb


The Spice Girls. Eric Idle. Annie Lennox. Winston Churchill. Taxicabs and people in newspaper-themed raincoats. Tonight is a hotchpotch (that's hodgepodge to you Americans keeping score at home) of British music and skits, although organizers have called it a mashup.

They've been wheeling out most of the old favorites with little rhyme or reason.

In Britain we have an annual Royal Variety Performance where we do exactly the same thing in front of members of the royal family.

Hotpotch? Mishmosh? This is British variety at its best. Make no mistake.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb


The closing ceremony is well under way, and those in the stadium say the mood is "electric." But elsewhere — namely, the Twittersphere — some of the closing ceremony magic is lost on observers.

From the choice of musical acts (a boy band?!) to the sets to the soundtrack (on repeat?), journalists and British personalities were having a field day trashing the spectacle.

Some, like The Guardian's Jonathan Haynes, welcomed the negativity, calling it a return of sorts to regular British cynicism. "Two weeks of pent-up cynicism is flooding across Twitter in glorious waves. Thanks (hashtag)closingceremony :)," he wrote.

We'll leave you to find others, and there are some gems of snark and hilarity. Just browse (hashtag)closingceremony.

— Cassandra Vinograd — Twitter http://twitter.com/cassvinograd


Spice Girl (Posh) Victoria Beckham gets double billing in London's closing ceremony.

Not only will she be performing with her girl band, but one of her designs appears in the British fashion icon segment.

Billboards are being driven around the Olympic track featuring photographs of nine British supermodels wearing bespoke creations by British designers.

Beckham's work was being shown along with creations by Alexander McQueen, Erdem, Vivienne Westwood, Christopher Kane and Burberry.

— Danica Kirka — Twitter http://twitter.com/danicakirka


It's not often that an Olympic ceremony goes out of its way to honor ordinary people — but London's volunteers were a good place to start.

London whipped up a army of volunteers — 10,000 in all — for these Olympics, put them in goofy purple-and-pink shirts and gave them 10-hour shifts that could begin before dawn or end after midnight.

No worries. They have been the heart of these games — so cheerful, so helpful, so full of joy.

A handful of them — old, young, male, female — were brought up on the stage Sunday in a sweet tribute. Bravo, guys, bravo.

— Sheila Norman-Culp, Twitter at http://twitter.com/snormanculp


"Wow. This is it... The end. WE should all be very proud to have held the greatest Olympics in modern times. Huge thanks to everyone involved." — Ben Ainslie, who carried Team GB's flag into closing ceremony.

— Cassandra Vinograd — Twitter http://twitter.com/cassvinograd


It is so great that the Gamesmakers — or volunteers — are being honored. They haven't just been the face of London; they've been the face of Britain. They've been friendly and welcoming to all, and I've heard so much praise for them over the last two weeks.

We've always known how to "do our duty." But if you had asked me seven years ago, I would never have imagined this could be one of the ways.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb


Just like Paul McCartney, George Michael keeps coming back. We seem to be able to forgive all of his indiscretions.

Also: Someone has to continue to rock that all-leather look.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter —http://twitter.com/fergb


They put John Lennon up on the big screen, remastered and straight from Yoko Ono's archives, singing about how we should "Imagine all the people living life in peace." Blue light bathed Olympic Stadium, and it was picture-perfect stagecraft for an organization that wants people to believe, above all else, that the games are about the world coming together and putting aside differences.

Funny thing, though. In a lot of ways, it's kind of true.

Nearly 32 years after Lennon was murdered, this song somehow avoids being cliche and hackneyed. And to have thousands of athletes in the middle of a stadium as human examples, and tens of thousands of spectators swaying to words sung by a long-dead and optimistic pop star, you sort of can't help but believe.

— Ted Anthony — Twitter http://twitter.com/anthonyted


Athletes are pouring into Olympic Stadium, happy, clapping, waving flags. French Olympians in white uniforms are doing backflips, Ethiopians in yellow are dancing, the Dutch in bright orange are mugging for the TV cameras.

Sheila Norman-Culp — Twitter http://twitter.com/snormanculp


There have been so many mentions about the support the home crowd is giving other nations when they win medals. Tonight is no different. Britons don't always talk to their neighbors. but we certainly try to make vistors feel welcome. The crowd roared when Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich took the gold medal on the podium.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter —http://twitter.com/fergb


I've been asking Brits in Olympic Park what they have felt about the games today. In short: they've loved it.

Every one of them turned it back on me. How do I feel?


I think this country has realized that we can put on a good show and we don't have to be our usual self-deprecating selves. This is an achievement on a truly epic scale. We thought that people didn't think we could do it. Tonight feels like Britain is unabashedly pumping its collective red, blue and white fist in the air and saying, "Yes, we did."

— Fergus Bell — Twitter —http://twitter.com/fergb


Right now the party is starting out like all parties. Everyone is in their own group of friends. They are eyeing each other across the room — stadium. They are making furtive glances at the other groups. It's just going to take one person to cross over, or a random hug. Then I think we'll see them coming together.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter —http://twitter.com/fergb


During the London riots about this time last year, crews of average citizens came to sweep up. And there they are again, a tribute to the people who loved their city and decided to clean it up after the trouble makers smashed windows and stole things.

— Danica Kirka — http://twitter.com/danicakirka


The musical stars got us this far, but now it is the time of the athletic stars here in London's east end. The athletes are joining the party — now things can really get started. Athletes: Take your position in the mosh pit.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb


Emeli Sande sings a lyric that could apply to Britain right now, after these Olympics: "We're finally finding our voices."

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb


When it comes to The Kinks frontman Ray Davies, I'm feeling a little bit lost. This is way before my time. The crowd seem to be enjoying it but I think the younger members of the audience would rather have had a second number from One Direction.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter —http://twitter.com/fergb


The flash bulbs went crazy as a hot young band — One Direction — took to the stage. The crowd also got a lot louder and the rhythm is getting fast. We are definitely seeing a build up to something big here.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb


Ray Davies, looking older but his voice as strong as ever, sings his most beautiful composition, "Waterloo Sunset." So many Americans of my generation (I'm 44) learned what they knew about Britain from not only the Beatles and the Stones, but Davies' Kinks, who — led by his lyrics — took a history lesson about Britain's working and middle classes without ever knowing it.

— Ted Anthony — Twitter http://twitter.com/anthonyted


AP's Danica Kirka shares her impressions of the closing ceremony from her seat in Olympic Stadium:

"There's just a fantastic vibe in the stadium. Part street party, part celebration of all things Britain. The Household Calvalry in all their gorgeous red coats and bearskin hats. So very aren't-we-proud to be British."

— Danica Kirka — Twitter http://twitter.com/danicakirka


Interpretive dance being done to the Beatles' "A Day in the Life": "Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head." No sign of Sir Paul McCartney live this time yet, though.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb


This seems to be a mixture of the various kinds of street parties you see in London throughout the year. The brightly colored floats could come straight from London Gay Pride, while the army bands make it seem like a military parade.

Kim Gavin, the artistic director, said this was going to be a "mashup." He wasn't kidding!

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb


Here's something you don't see every day: An actor playing Sir Winston Chruchill popping out of Big Ben to get things going.


Prince Harry gets a prime spot. He has certainly been very visible during the games, making appearances at a lot of events.

But really so many see him as a party boy, so it seems only fitting that he presides over this massive party.

— Fergus Bell — Twitter http://twitter.com/fergb


AP's Fergus Bell, a Londoner, shares his impressions of the closing ceremony from his seat in Olympic Stadium:


With Olympic Stadium bathed in blue light and a choir singing, the London Olympics has begun its closing ceremony. Among the first songs in what's expected to be a musical journey through the nation: The Beatles' "Because," based on Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" played backward.

EDITOR'S NOTE — "Eyes on London" shows you the Olympics through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across the 2012 Olympic city and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.