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Photos: Spectacular closing ceremony and Rio 2016 Olympics highlights
Traditional parade of the athletes, led by Greece and host nation Brazil, at the closing ceremony of Rio 2016

Photos: Spectacular closing ceremony and Rio 2016 Olympics highlights

A spectacular Closing Ceremony brought an end to 17 action-packed days in iconic venues as Tokyo takes the flag

Records were broken, history was made, superstars born and legends emerged at the Rio 2016 Olympics came to an end after 17 amazing days full of thrill, excitement and records.

The United States topped the medal tally with a total count 121 medals while Great Britain and China finished second and third positions with 67 and 70 medals respectively.

One of the biggest cheers of the night came when Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared dressed as computer game character Super Mario, rising out of a huge green pipe in the stadium.

The ceremony, watched by billions around the world, featured the parade of athletes and a dramatic extinguishing of the Olympic flame.

In the closing ceremony, IOC president Thomas Bach said: “Brazil we love you, thank you for your warm hospitality. Over the last 16 days a united Brazil inspired the world, in difficult times for all of us, with its irresistible joy of life. You gave many reasons to be proud. These Games demonstrated that diversity is an enrichment for everyone. These Games were a celebration of diversity.”

Highlights from the closing ceremony

More than 11,000 athletes, representing 207 nations, competed in 31 sports in Brazil, with 306 sets of medals in Rio de Janeiro.  ,

Rio 2016 Olympic Games came to an end with a closing ceremony as breathtaking as the opening.

Samba dancers perform in the "Cidade Maravilhosa" segment of the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on Aug. 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro

Samba dancers perform in the “Cidade Maravilhosa” segment of the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on Aug. 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro

Fireworks explode during the 'Love Sport Tokyo 2020' segment during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Fireworks explode during the ‘Love Sport Tokyo 2020′ segment during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Singer Lenine performs in the Recognition of the Volunteers segment of the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on Aug. 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Singer Lenine performs in the Recognition of the Volunteers segment of the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on Aug. 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Performers form the Olympic rings at the closing ceremony of Rio 2016.

Performers form the Olympic rings at the closing ceremony of Rio 2016.

Athletes from China march in during the closing ceremony in the Maracana stadium at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug 21,2016.

Athletes from China march in during the closing ceremony in the Maracana stadium at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug 21,2016.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears in the Love Sport Tokyo 2020 segment of the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on Aug. 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears in the Love Sport Tokyo 2020 segment of the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on Aug. 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Athletes from Canada march during the closing ceremony of Rio 2016. Canadians earned 22 medals in the Summer Games.

Athletes from Canada march during the closing ceremony of Rio 2016. Canadians earned 22 medals in the Summer Games.

Fireworks explode at the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on Aug. 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Fireworks explode at the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on Aug. 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Jackie Briggs from the United States wears the Olympic ring sunglasses during the closing ceremony of 2016 Summer Olympics.

Jackie Briggs from the United States wears the Olympic ring sunglasses during the closing ceremony of 2016 Summer Olympics.

Memorable moments from the Rio 2016 Olympics

A Games of firsts

The Rio Games brought first medals for Fiji, Jordan and Kosovo – and all three opened their accounts with gold, Fiji in the first Olympic rugby sevens competition.

Competitors from Bahrain, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Vietnam and Tajikistan also won their first Olympic titles in Rio 2016.

Singapore's Joseph Schooling beat his idol Michael Phelps to win gold in the men's 100m butterfly final at the Olympic games in Rio.

Singapore’s Joseph Schooling beat his idol Michael Phelps to win gold in the men’s 100m butterfly final at the Olympic games in Rio.

A Games of records

Twenty-seven world records were set in Rio within the seven Olympic sports that recognise them – archery, athletics, modern pentathlon, track cycling, shooting, swimming and weightlifting. American Ledecky claimed two of those, in the women’s 400m and 800m freestyle. Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana smashed the world record in women’s 10,000m gold medal in 29 minutesto claim gold.

Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana broke the world record on her way to winning the women's 10,000m gold medal in 29 minutes, 17.45 seconds

Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana broke the world record on her way to winning the women’s 10,000m gold medal in 29 minutes, 17.45 seconds

Rio 2016 – End of an era for 2 amazing atheletes

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt said goodbye to the Olympics by winning an unprecedented ‘triple triple’. The 30-year-old Jamaican won his seventh, eighth and ninth gold medals by claiming the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay titles for the third Games in succession.

US swimmer Michael Phelps, meanwhile, took his medal tally to 28 from five Olympics by winning six in Rio – five of which were golds. The 31-year-old’s efforts helped the US top the medal table with 121, their most successful ‘away’ Games.

Athletes including Usain Bolt of Jamaica (C) compete in the Men's 100 meter semifinal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on on August 14, 2016. Photo: Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Athletes including Usain Bolt of Jamaica (C) compete in the Men’s 100 meter semifinal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on on August 14, 2016. Photo: Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The ceremony featured the symbolic handover of the Olympic flag. Rio mayor Eduardo Paes returned it to IOC president Bach, before it was passed to Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike.

Tokyo, which will host the 2020 Olympics, is picking up the baton from Rio. The idea to put Mario center stage in Rio came from the Tokyo organizing committee, said Nintendo spokesman Yasuhiko Minagawa.

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