Paralympics 2016: Closing Ceremony Recap

Last night the 2016 Paralympics drew to a close after a week and a half of unprecedented victory for ParalympicsGB. 

Great Britain finished the Games with 64 golds, the most by a British team since 1988. Their total of 147 medals placed them second behind China, who claimed 107 golds and 239 in total.

However Rio’s final celebrations were also marked with tragedy, with the announcement that Iranian cyclist, Bahman Golbarnez had died of his injuries after a serious crash in the C4-5 road race. His death is the first in competition at a summer Olympics or Paralympics since Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen died in the 100km team time trial at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Despite the saddness that followed the Golbarnez’s death, the Games ended on an overwhelming high.

The head of the IPC, Sir Philip Craven, has spoken out about his experience of Rio 2016: “Ten weeks ago it was a disaster, so we had to piece things together. I’m so proud. London just seemed to flow, the planets were in alignment. They were definitely out of alignment here but things came together. The future is very safe here.”

Referring to the success of the Games, Craven said that this year’s Paralympics were “uniquely Brazilian and wondrous”.

Sunday night’s closing ceremony saw the Maracana Stadium burst into a riot of colour as the best of Brazil took to the stage.

The ceremony began with the ‘Sounds of Silence’ and the stage erupted to life as dancers, musician and athletes all explored the sounds within the human body, offer the worldwide the audience an ‘invitation to broaden our senses.’

Despite initial concerns that only 12% of the stadium’s seats would be filled, more than 2.1 million tickets were sold – second only to London 2012.

And in typical Brazilian fashion, music was the highlight of the celebrations. The spectacular drumming group Mestre ignited the festivities before Brazilian music stars Gaby Amarantos, Nacao Zumbi and queen of the carnival Ivete Sangalo all took to the stage.

Disabled musician Jonathan Bastos thrilled crowds by playing guitar to the stadium only using his feet.

There were also dance performances from wheelchair users, choreographed Patrick Carvalho, and accompanied by the blast of heavy metal band Sepultura’s guitars.

Brazil’s Saulo Laucas also provided a special performance on the final night of the Games. The tenor and pianist, who was born totally blind and has autism, thrilled crowds with his rendition of Brazilian national anthem.

The ceremony ended with the song “One love” by Bob Marley which oranizers said was perfect to reflect the spirit of the Paralympics and ‘love, peace and union.’

Kadeena Cox, who won golds in both athletics and cycling, was chosen to carry the British flag at Sunday’s closing ceremony.


Cox is the first British star to win titles in two sports at the same Games since Seoul 1988.

The 25 year old flag barer led out one of the most successful British Paralympic teams in history, having achieved their best medal haul since 1988.

Also among the British stars celebrating in the stadium was Dame Sarah Storey, who won her third and GB’s 60th gold medal of the Games on Saturday.

What was your favourite moment of Rio 2016? And are you already looking forward to Tokyo? Let us know on Twitter! 

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