LONDON -- The London Olympics crossed the finish line with a rollicking, rocking celebration of just how great Great Britain truly is, especially with its newfound athletic muscle.
Who said the British were staid, stiff upper lip, keep calm and carry on all that rubbish?
The Closing Ceremonies on Sunday night featured roller-skating nuns, Scottish bagpipers, nine supermodels, tightrope-walking businessmen and music from the Beatles, David Bowie, the BeeGees, Queen, Annie Lennox, Pink Floyd and The Who.
The show was cheeky, eccentric, clever, melodic, massive, absolutely fabulous.
Dancing, singing, hugging and mugging in the infield were thousands of athletes, congratulating each other on a job well done and relaxing after years of hard work and two weeks of performing under pressure.
The Games were a smashing success for the home team. Team GB, representing a nation of 62 million, finished third behind sporting giants in the gold medal tally. The U.S. regained superiority over China, collecting 46 golds and 104 total medals compared to 38 and 87 for the Beijing 2008 hosts. Great Britain wasnt far behind with 29 and 65, improving its haul of 47 from four years ago and exceeding the average host-team increase of 13.
Prince Harry and sister-in-law Kate Middleton watched from the Royal Box as Russell Brand sang Pure Imagination from atop a psychedelic bus and Jessie J rode around in a Rolls-Royce wearing a skin-toned bodysuit. Alas, Queen Elizabeth did not parachute into the stadium as she did during the Opening Ceremonies.
But London Mayor Boris Johnson boogied to the beat, which will undoubtedly spur more support for him as the next prime minister. He oversaw the redevelopment of an industrial wasteland in east London, creating what is envisioned as a new, green, sports-minded town in Olympic Park.
Despite concerns that holding the Olympics in a dense, congested city would be a logistical nightmare, nearly everything went smoothly, with few breakdowns on the aging Tube system, no major security threats. Most surprising, almost no rain, either.
No nasty scandals, save for tanking by badminton players who were trying to improve their countries chances of winning.
Usain Bolt met his goal of becoming a living legend, winning three gold medals in convincing fashion and anchoring Jamaicas 400-meter relay team to a world record.
Michael Phelps swam in what he swore was his fourth and last Olympics, winning six medals in seven events.
Gabby Douglas, a smiley 16-year-old, captivated judges and fans in winning gymnastics coveted all-around gold medal and leading the U.S. teams Fierce Five to first place. Teenage boxer Claressa Shields won gold in the debut of womens boxing.
Miami gymnast Danell Leyva won bronze in mens all-around with a thrilling routine on high bar. LeBron James powered the U.S. basketball team to mostly wipeouts. Sanya Richards-Ross won two golds on the track.
British athletes competing in historic, iconic venues heard the loudest roaring from smitten fans: Distance runner Mo Farah, heptathlete Jessica Ennis, boxer Nicola Adams, sailor Ben Ainslie, cyclists Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton, Chris Hoy, diver Tom Daley, rowers, equestrian riders.
The plan is for their triumphs and the Olympic investment of $15 billion to inspire a generation in a country pessimistic about its economy and increasingly sedentary lifestyle.