Lara Butler carries flag for Cayman as Rio Games close

| 23/08/2016
CNS Local Life

Cayman’s 2016 Olympians (L-R) Geoffrey Butler, Lara Butler, Florence Allan, Ronald Forbes and Kemar Hyman

(CNS): Swimmer Lara Butler marched as Cayman’s flag bearer at the Rio closing ceremony, chosen by the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee due to her success at the Games, breaking a national record and setting a new personal best in the 100m backstroke. Thousands of athletes and spectators were on hand for the carnival-inspired event. Despite torrential rain and winds right before the evening kicked off, the wet Maracanã Stadium still hosted a vibrant and enthusiastic ceremony.

The three-hour-long celebration highlighted Brazil’s landmarks through human formations, art, music and dance.

“These were a marvelous Olympics, in a marvelous city,” said International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach, who officially closed the Games of the 31st Olympiad after 16 days of competition, featuring 11,303 athletes from 206 nations and a refugee team.

The crowd roared in celebration during the official handover of the Olympic Games to 2020 host Tokyo, when Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, dressed as video game character Super Mario, appeared out of a huge green pipe in the stadium.

Following a visual spectacle by Tokyo 2020, Rio’s Olympic flame was extinguished, ironically by rain shower, which then gave life to a large tree sculpture to symbolise rebirth.

Brazilian model Izabel Goulart led a parade of 50 women and 200 dancers, who were joined by a sound truck containing 12 carnival queens.

Bright colours then filled the stadium as the ceremony ended like it started, with a confetti and fireworks show.

Of Cayman’s five Olympians, Florence Allan, Lara Butler and Geoffrey Butler return to the island, with Ronald Forbes and Kemar Hyman back to Florida and Atlanta, respectfully.

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