As World Says Goodbye to London 2012 Games, Chair Seb Coe Thanks ‘Superhuman’ Athletes Who Inspired a Generation

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As the world gathered for a global goodbye to London 2012 at the Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony, Organising Committee Chair Sebastian Coe, paid tribute to the ‘superhuman’ efforts of everyone who competed and contributed to the Games that inspired the world.

We felt the uplifting spirit that distinguishes the Olympic and Paralympic Games from other sporting events, and we witnessed how sport can breakdown barriers and extend the boundaries of human achievement

As the world gathered for a global goodbye to London 2012 at the Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony, Organising Committee Chair Sebastian Coe, paid tribute to the ‘superhuman’ efforts of everyone who competed and contributed to the Games that inspired the world.

'On behalf of London 2012, I would like to acknowledge the contributions made by millions of people across London, the United Kingdom and around the world to the Paralympic Games and the Olympic Games, especially the athletes and the volunteers,' Coe said.

The London 2012 Games marked a special period in London’s history, in international sport and the global community.

'This was a unique time when sport seemed to rule the world, and people everywhere were transfixed by the joy of sport,' Coe said.

'We felt the uplifting spirit that distinguishes the Olympic and Paralympic Games from other sporting events, and we witnessed how sport can breakdown barriers and extend the boundaries of human achievement.'

The athletes ignited the flame that ignited the Games and united the world.

'The athletes performed at an awe-inspiring level and almost always with grace and sportsmanship whether they won or lost. We had a plethora of world records, and Olympic and Paralympic records that we could marvel at,' Coe said.

After starring in Beijing, athletes like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Sarah Storey, Esther Vergeer, Ellie Simmonds, Oscar Pstorius, Natalie Du Toit, David Weir, Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and others became legends in London.

'We also saw new local and international sporting heroes and role models emerge in London including Mo Farah, David Rudisha, Laura Trott, Anna Cockcroft, Missy Franklin, Jonnie Peackock, Nicola Adams, and China’s Yang Yang and many others,' Coe said.

'This is the legacy of inspiration we were looking for. The athletes and the spectators have been extraordinary and we owe them a great deal – their determination, their talent, their passion and their engagement.'

London 2012 is proud to have delivered on the vision that the Bid team, led by Coe, outlined in Singapore in 2005, and we inspired a generation.

'Children and young people around the world have marvelled at the performances of the athletes and been inspired to go beyond their best, and beyond what they thought they could ever achieve in the classroom and in their communities,' Coe said.

'Thanks to the athletes, young people know it is possible to triumph over adversity, to challenge and then change their circumstances and to achieve great things.'

Coe praised the imagination, creativity, and daring of Paralympic athletes and sporting performances in his Closing Ceremony address this evening.

'Incredible people have performed feats we hardly thought possible,' Coe said. 'Our minds were opened to what people can do, and to what can be achieved by sheer talent and determination.'

The Closing Ceremony marked the finale of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which were built on a vision to use the power of the Games to inspire lasting change.

This included attitudes towards disability, which have improved as a result of the Paralympic Games, according to new research showing over 80 % of people agree that the London 2012 Paralympic Games has demonstrated athlete’s abilities ahead of their disabilities

  • 1 in 3 UK adults say the London 2012 Paralympics has changed their attitude towards people with disabilities;
  • 65% agree the Paralympics have delivered a breakthrough in the way disabled people are viewed in this country – up from a 40% expectation in June 2010;
  • 74% agree that the Paralympic Games has shown the world how to treat disabled people with respect and equality, up from a 52% expectation set in June 2010
  • That the Paralympic Games is about ability, not disability – and are about what people can do, not what they can’t do.

"We will never think of sport the same way and we will never think of disability the same way,” Coe said. “The Paralympians have lifted the clouds of limitation.”

In a triumph of international cooperation and goodwill, the London 2012 Games united the world like never before with a total of 204 countries and territories attending Olympic and Paralympic Games – more than the United Nations.

In a reference to the lyrics “nobody said it was easy,” in the Coldplay song The Scientist, performed at the Closing Ceremony, Coe praised the vital role played by key Games stakeholders in staging the Games, including the IOC, the IPC, the British Government, Mayor of London, sponsors and partners as well as international sporting federations and national Olympic and Paralympic committees.

“Together, we delivered Games for our world and Games of our times,” Coe said.

“These were Games for Everyone – Games for people of all faiths, cultures, and backgrounds; Games that connected millions of young people with sport and education in communities and cities around the world; Games focussed of excellence without extravagance; and Games delivered sustainably and responsibly, with a major emphasis on protecting the environment.”

Coe praised the generosity of the British people and Games spectators, whose passion for sport filled the venues with atmosphere, colour, excitement and support for all competing athletes and teams rarely experienced at international sporting events before.

“We knew the British people would embrace the Games, and the demand for tickets was insatiable, and was one of our biggest challenges as many events could have been sold out many times over. To see a packed stadium in the morning sessions of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games was unprecedented and created an extraordinary atmosphere in the venues right through the whole Games.”

Coe paid special tribute to Olympic and Paralympic Games volunteers. “As well as the best athletes, we had the best volunteers, our Games Makers, who dedicated themselves to doing something positive for the world’s athletes, for their country, and for the world.”

Above all, Coe paid tribute to his LOCOG team. “Whatever our staff go on to achieve, I hope they will always look back on these Games with enormous pride and the knowledge that they genuinely made a difference,” he said.

London 2012 Games set the foundations for long term community change in the London and in neighbourhoods around the world, heralding a new era for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and transforming the world’s biggest sporting events into a catalyst for sustainable and positive social change and international co-operation.

This included programmes such as International Inspiration, the first global sports development project delivered by an Olympic and Paralympic host city, teaching sport, education and life skills to more than 12 million children from all backgrounds and cultures in 20 countries, from Azerbaijan to Zambia.

The Games also transformed east London, providing new housing for thousands of people in new homes, along with new jobs, schools, medical centres, commercial facilities and improved transport services, all planned and designed around new infrastructure for the new Olympic Park, the biggest new sports community park in Europe in more than 100 years.

“Our simple vision to use the Games as a catalyst for change has touched and transformed the lives and communities of millions of people across London, the UK and around the world," Coe said.

Coe also said the London Games could also be a defining moment for the host city and country.

“The Olympics and Paralympics lifted the mood and confidence of the country, and confidence in ourselves and our ability to unite in times of national importance," Coe said

Coe also extended a “massive thank you” to Londoners whose passion and support for the Olympic and Paralympic athletes provided moments and memories that will last a lifetime.

“This was London calling, higher, faster, stronger and louder than ever before.”

The Games also provided a global platform for modern Britain, and showcased the country’s creativity, capability and commitment to contribute to the building of a better world through sport, according to Coe.

“The massive logistical challenges, scale and complexity of planning involved in the successful delivery of the Games also demonstrated Britain’s ability to deliver projects of national and international significance on time and within budget.

“When our time came, we got it right for the athletes and we united the world, and I am incredibly proud to say that all this was made in Britain,” Coe said.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "As the curtain falls on the biggest and best Paralympics ever, it’s time for the whole country to look back with pride on what we have achieved.

"Not only has this been our greatest ever summer of sport, it will also be remembered as one of the proudest moments in our history. We have shown the world the true face of Britain: confident and capable, innovative and inspirational, open to the world and open for business. A country that is rightly proud of its past, and justifiably confident about its future.

"Everyone has played their part, from our torchbearers and volunteers to our record-breaking British athletes and ground-breaking British businesses - businesses that can build on the success of the Olympics and Paralympics to boost economic growth, make the country more competitive and create jobs

"London 2012 has been a golden Games, and it will leave this country a golden legacy."

The Mayor of the London, Boris Johnson, said: "Having delivered a sell-out Paralympics, we can now afford a moment to look back and celebrate London staging what was undoubtedly one of the greatest events in its history. Our glorious Games have captured the imagination of the world providing an indelible series of magical memories in a way we never dared dream.

'The thrilling achievements of our magnificent athletes has provided a set of role models which will inspire young people up and down the land.

'It is also the time once again to acknowledge the legions of dedicated people who have worked so tirelessly including thousands of unpaid volunteers, to stage London 2012. It is thanks to all of you that billions of people have witnessed London at its very best, and for that we will be eternally grateful.'

The London 2012 Games also set new standards and innovations for sports events including:

  • Record tickets sales (11 million) for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • Compelling sport including new sports presentation formats and 46 world records at the Olympic Games and 251 world records at the Paralympic Games.
  • The First Sustainable Summer Olympic Games, including the lightest, most sustainable and lowest carbon Stadium constructed for the Olympic and Paralympic Games-    
  • First Public Transport Games, including during the Olympics, over 62 million journeys on the London Underground Tube - up 35 per cent on normal levels. Tuesday 7 August was the busiest day in the Tube’s history, with 4.57 million passengers; and over 6.3 million journeys during the Olympics on overground rail - up 57 per cent on normal levels.
  • Biggest security operation since the second world war. Police Cadets aged between 14 and 19 volunteered 10560 hours to support the policing operation during the Olympics and Paralympics.
  • The British police service worked together to resource the largest ever pre-planned policing operation, the London 2012 Olympic Games. 52 individual forces contributed officers to keep the Games safe, while measures were taken to ensure that core policing continues to be delivered.
  • On peak days, around 12,500 officers policed the Olympic Games nationally, with around 9,500 in London alone. During the Paralympics 7,000 policed the events with around 5500 in London.
  • We set out to stage a Games for Everyone, where Everyone was invited and welcome to join in to make these Games accessible to as many people as possible:
  •     Festival (19.5 million joined in with 16.5 million free opportunities)
  • Torch (15 million lined the streets)
  • Livesite (7 million visited)
  • Tickets (11 million sold)
  • Education (Over 90% of schools participating reaching over 2 million children)
  • International Inspiration (over 12 million children and young people in 20 countries)
  • Media exposure / Social Media – The world’s biggest story
  • First Social Media Games. LOCOG was the first host organising committee to establish a social media department, connecting more young people to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and values. This included:

Olympic

  • 3 million tweets mentioning ‘London 2012’ / ‘Olympic
  • 431 million visits to London2012.com from 109 million unique users.
  • 15 million downloads of our mobile app downloads.
  • Visitors from more than 200 countries and territories visited Locog websites during the Paralympics – as was the case for the Olympics.

Paralympic

  • 1.3 million tweets mentioning ‘Paralympic’ since the 29TH August (over 80,000 in the last 24 hrs)
  • 25 million visits to London2012.com from 10 million unique users
  • Over 5.8 million upgrades to the Paralympic versions of the Apps

Notes to editors:
For further information please contact the London 2012 Press Office.

The Official London 2012 Join In app is a free mobile guide to help you plan, enjoy and share your Games experience. From the Olympic Torch Relay to the Olympics and Paralympics, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, plus all the cultural, city and community celebrations happening across the UK, the Official London 2012 Join In App is your essential companion.

London 2012 Games partners:
The Worldwide Olympic Partners who support the London 2012 Olympic Games and the National Olympic Committees around the world are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter and Gamble, Samsung and Visa.

LOCOG has seven domestic Tier One Partners - adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds TSB. There are seven domestic Tier Two Supporters – Adecco, ArcelorMittal, Cadbury, Cisco, Deloitte, Thomas Cook and UPS. There are now twenty-eight domestic Tier Three Suppliers and Providers – Aggreko, Airwave, Atkins, Boston Consulting Group, CBS Outdoor, Crystal CG, Eurostar, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, G4S, GSK, Gymnova, Heathrow Airport, Heineken UK, Holiday Inn, John Lewis, McCann Worldgroup, Mondo, NATURE VALLEY, Next, Nielsen, Populous, Rapiscan Systems, Rio Tinto, Technogym, Thames Water, Ticketmaster, Trebor and
Westfield.

There is one domestic Tier One Paralympic Games-only Partner, Sainsbury’s and one domestic Tier Three Paralympic Games-only Supplier, Otto Bock. The London 2012 Paralympic Games also acknowledges the support of the National Lottery.

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