Rio games close with a three-hour party, feeling of nostalgia

Rio de Janeiro: Rain drenched Rio partied and brought out the myriad and diverse culture of Brazil, saluting the nation's music maestros, traditional arts and dance forms, as the 31st Olympic Games -- the first in South America -- drew to a colourful close here on Sunday. Tradition and modernity merged during a nearly three-hour-long closing ceremony, watched by over 60 thousand people at the historic Maracana stadium, and millions across the globe on television, with the nagging showers and a strong wind failing to dampen the spirits of the 11 thousand odd athletes who mingled freely in the true spirit of Olympic camaraderie and big farewell to each other cutting across national barriers.

Over 3,000 volunteers and 200 actors took part in the ceremony that resembled a carnival mood with intoxicating beats of Brazilian music interspersed with moments of nostalgia and a wrenching feeling of sadness when International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach officially declared the games closed and urged the youths of the world to converge in Tokyo in 2020 for the next edition of the quadrennial showpiece. "I declare the games of the 31st Olympiad closed. In accordance with tradition , I call upon the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in Tokyo, Japan, to celebrate with us the games of the 32nd Olympiad. Bye bye Rio," Bach said. "We arrived in Brazil as guests, we leave as your friends. You will have a place in our hearts forever," he told the Maracana while receiving a thunderous warm applause.