Let’s throw things forward three years then shall we? I think the Olympics have benefited from the inclusion of surfing, BMXing and skateboarding even though these sports provoked much tutting when first announced. You may disagree, but I think they have helped connect a younger audience to the Olympics and shown the world that those who compete in these sports make just as many sacrifices and work every bit as hard as more regular athletes do to perfect their skills. And in Paris we will see breakdancing join the show.

Paris 2024 organisers say the Olympics will “set a new standard for inclusive, gender-balanced and youth-centred games” and adding breakdancing is part of the expansion of the so-called “urban” programme. Equality will play a key role in 2024, too, with Paris aiming to be the first Games to reach a 50% split between male and female athletes, edging Tokyo which managed 48.8%.

William Fotheringham has penned his thoughts on the performance of Team GB’s Olympic cyclists in which the Kennys remained the golden couple of British cycling – but I particularly like this line:

The plethora of BMX metalware could hardly have been predicted, but will give huge impetus to a discipline which is the best entry-point to bike racing for most urban-dwelling youngsters.

A view from Japan

Trevor Kew has emailed in with his thoughts – and they’re very interesting too. “For most people here in Japan, the Olympics have been a TV show just like in other countries, albeit with some familiar scenic backdrops. Obviously almost all people here agree that these Games should never have gone ahead, but at least there was something exciting and distracting on TV for a couple of weeks. But I don’t think many people here will really remember these Games as the Japanese Olympic Games or Tokyo Games.

“I live near many of the Olympic venues, many of which are perched out on artificial islands in Tokyo Bay, which kind of reminded me of the tiny Dutch outpost of Dejima off of Nagasaki, which was the only place foreigners could visit in Japan between 1620-1853 (Japanese were forbidden from leaving Japan as well). Some foreign journalists’ articles about Japan during the Olympics kind of reminded me of some of the diaries I’ve read written by the insular denizens of Dejima … so close to Japan and yet so far.

“What a shame that visitors to this wonderful country couldn’t experience it and even more so that the Japanese people and we foreigners who live here and are proud to do so weren’t even able to attend our own party. These Olympics might as well have been played on the moon.”

Thanks Trevor.

The Olympics always give us wonderful images and I think photographers have scaled new heights at these Games as they got creative and found new ways to make shots interesting in the absence of crowds. This gallery is a case in point.

“Show a photographer a reflective surface – be it water, glass, a screen or a visor – and they’ll show you a striking image”


If you’re wondering how the BBC followed coverage of sport’s greatest show on Earth. Well, with Money for Nothing of course! The show in which Sarah Moore renovates old tat for a profit. I miss Lutalo Muhammad. I could listen to his cool, calm voice all day. He’s therapy in taekwondo pundit form. Here he is speaking to Sachin Nakrani in an interview from last week:

Not everybody in a big British sport admin role is feeling happy after the Olympics, mind. UK Athletics’ Christian Malcolm has been forced to defend GB’s athletics performance. GB’s athletics team failed to win a single gold medal for the first time since Atlanta in 1996. His predecessor, Ed Warner, stuck the boot in when he said:

The last time GB came away from a Games without a gold medal was 1996. Twenty-second place overall is grim and compares with third, eighth, fourth and sixth over the past four Games. Even if Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake had held on for gold in the sprint relay, Britain would only have bumped up to 13th spot.

Here’s the full story:

I’d be interested to get a few views from Japan on what you made of the Tokyo Olympics now they have come and gone. Japan performed incredibly well, finishing third in the medal table with 27 golds, 14 silvers and 17 bronze medals. Was that success – and the effect it had on the nation – worth it?

Team GB’s chef de mission, Mark England, has been lavishing praise on his young team to the extent that he believes their performance was the greatest ever by a British Olympic team.

For this team to deliver 65 medals is absolutely extraordinary. The team has made history on the back of the most complex, challenging and most difficult environments that we will ever face, certainly in my lifetime. And I can say that because I’ve been involved in five or six summer Games.

Here’s a composite image of every Team GB medal winner at Tokyo 2020.

Great Britain

Great Britain’s medal winners: 22 gold medals, 21 silvers and 22 bronzes. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

And here’s Sean Ingle’s story:

But it’s not quite the end. “Arigato,” is the message displayed on the giant electronic board at the Olympic Stadium as 1,072 fireworks blast off from the roof and create a spectacle of light, sparks and no little smoke. And that really is the end of the closing ceremony, which got the tone just right I think.

The Olympic flame is extinguished.

The Olympic flame is extinguished. Photograph: Zsolt Czeglédi/EPA


There’s time for a bit more performative art, though, in which I think we’re taken forward to a vision of the future in which children are taught the lessons learned at the Tokyo Olympic Games and the legacy they left the people of Japan. I’m taking a punt on the meaning here, though. I think that’s right. The Olympic cauldron, which so far has represented the sun, is now cast as the moon. It’s metallic casing shifts shape and extinguishes the flame. And then all is dark.

The End.

‘I declare the Games of the 32nd Olympiad closed’

Thomas Bach officially closes the Tokyo Olympic Games but not before a little pat on the back. “We did it! Together!”


Thomas Bach, the IOC president, speaks:

Athletes went faster, went higher and were stronger because they all stood together in solidarity. You inspired us with this unified symbol of sport. And it was even more remarkable because of what you faced in the pandemic. For the first times since the pandemic the world came together. People were united by emotion, sharing moments of joy and inspiration. This gives us hope, this gives us faith in the future. The Olympic Games of Tokyo were the Olympic Games of hope, solidarity and peace. You the Japanese people can be extremely proud of what you achieved. On behalf of all the athletes we say thank you Tokyo, thank you Japan.

Bach continues to pay tribute to the volunteers who made the Games happen and the Japanese authorities who made Tokyo 2020 happen. “Thank you for staying with us on the side of the athletes who were longing for these Olympic Games. Nobody has ever organised a postponed Olympics.”

The Tokyo Olympics organising committee president, Seiko Hashimoto, speaks now to pay tribute to those who made the Games possible and to the Olympic spirit displayed by the athletes, whether experiencing the joy of glory or the bitter pain of defeat. She believes the power on display at Tokyo 2020 will keep the Olympic spirit alive all the way through to Paris 2024. She says Tokyo now can’t wait to host the Paralympics.

We’re on to a montage of various landmarks around Paris that will be used to host events ending, of course, with the Eiffel Tower, where many spectators have gathered to cheer heartily as the Patrouille de France fly by. The plan was to fly the largest ever flag from the tower this afternoon but it was too windy so, alas, that particular stunt will have to wait. Emmanuel Macron greets the world from atop the tower in quite some show. Paris have pulled out all the stops here.

It’s a version of La Marseillaise that has been pre-recorded in various locations around Paris and is slightly quieter then you might expect with plenty of strings. In fact, it sounds like it could have been a Lucasfilm production played over the end credits of Star Wars. Oh, and it ends in space, with Thomas Pesquet playing the saxophone on the international spacestation.

French aerial patrol ‘Patrouille de France’ fly over the Eiffel Tower

French aerial patrol ‘Patrouille de France’ fly over the Eiffel Tower Photograph: Stéphane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images


And now the Olympic flag handover session begins to backdrop music that could easily have been plucked from 50 Chillout Lounge Classics. Bach passes the Olympic flag to Hidalgo, who waves it around heartily to applause from the athletes in the stadium. That flag will now be taken to the town hall in Paris, where it will stay for the three years in the leadup to the Games. And now time for the French national anthem La Marseillaise. And who hasn’t got time for the French national anthem?

The first female mayor of Paris, Ana María Hidalgo, is introduced alongside the IOC’s head-honcho Thomas Bach, for the passing of the baton as the focus shifts to the French capital for the buildup to the 2024 Games. But first, the Olympic anthem is sung with gusto by an opera singer is an eyecatching huge electric blue costume. In case you’re not familiar, here it is:


Right, we’re back to some performative dance now, first in the stadium and then a cut away to Hokkaido, in northern Japan, for some traditional dance by the Ainu people. It’s a beautifully shot video and the landscape in Hokkaido is jawdropping, with mountains blending into sea. We’re then taken thousands of miles south for the Eisa dance in the Okinawa islands, a jauntier style in my humble opinion, and then back through central Japan where we’re treated to a snippet of the Awa Dance Festival.


There is a ceremony now to present the athletes who were elected to the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission: Pau Gasol, Maja Wloszczowska, Federica Pellegrini and Yuki Ota were voted on to the commission by fellow athletes. Their role is to act as a bridge between athletes and the IOC. Gasol isn’t there but Pellegrini, Wloszczowska and Ota play a role in presenting gifts to volunteers to say thank you for their huge contribution at these Games in which they have put themselves at risk during a pandemic to make Tokyo 2020 happen.

The medal ceremony for the men’s marathon is taking place. Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge stands proud atop the podium wearing his gold medal and outstanding tracksuit (and a huge smile beneath the mask, I hope). He absolutely bossed the race, finishing in 2:08.38 and over a minute ahead of the rest of the field. He’s 36. Will he, at 39, defend his title for a third time at Paris 2024?

Hello, Gregg here. I’m just back from the skatepark, where my daughters have been trying to do tricks and flicks having been inspired to do so after watching Sky Brown. The Olympic Effect, right there. Thanks to Daniel for guiding us through the majority of the closing ceremony while reviewing the trackies on offer. I’m here to take on the last leg and guide these Games home. Let me know what your highlight was? Mine? Probably Kye Whyte and Beth Schriever being brilliant on their BMXs.

But that’s it for me and these Games – thanks all for your company and comments, it’s been an absolute joy. Here’s Gregg Bakowski to see us home.

We now have the medal ceremony for the women’s marathon, won by Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya. But let’s not forget to congratulate whoever designed her team’s stash, which is absolutely banging.

kenya tracksuit

Photograph: Takeshi Nishimoto/AFLO/REX/Shutterstock

Time for the Greece anthem and raising of the flag. There’s one pole left, which I assume is for the tricolore. Personally, I’d pick Claude Leclochard to perform that part of the ceremony.

David Wilding 💙

Overheard someone on train mention La Rochelle and 13 year old me thinks “c’est une ville a l’ouest de la France” #Tricolore 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/Yo9JMHkzcp

July 5, 2017


It’s big-band Ode to Joy next, the aforementioned Tony Blair’s favourite song (when he thought the audience wanted to hear it was that, on a different occasion it was Sympathy for the Devil). But, as I type that, in comes the accordion, which I imagine, sets up Paris as the host in 2024. Surely we’re getting some Jean-Michel Jarre for the closing ceremony of that.

Right about now, on the wheels of steel, someone say hello to the DJ Matsunaga. He plays looking away, scratches with his elbow and that kind of palaver, then disappears as soon as he arrived, as Milet comes on to cover Edith Piaf’s Hymne à L’amour. Great stuff.

“On the subject of athletes cameraderie,” says Jerry Spring. “Maybe not so many people caught the women’s podium for the combined climbing final. I’d love it if you could share that in the blog … It still brings tears to my eyes for the love, joy and respect between those three wonderful climbers.”

That’s lovely.


Photograph: Instagram

Oh my gosh, I’ve just seen one of the great rugs, owned by someone playing in the horn section accompanying the current japery. That with the Nigeria trcky, and we’re really talking.

By the road, it’s raining in Nottingham, where a superb first Test might just be petering out.

“As you mentioned Chris Hoy’s shoes,” says Nick Marshall, “it’s definitely worth referencing Alex Horne and the Horne Section’s ‘Chris Hoy loves a Saveloy’.”

We’ve all our athletes with us now – well, all those still in Toyko, and a light show is underway. It’s pretty spectacular I’ve to say, beautiful colour cascading like waves then waterfall. Then it all comes together into Olympic rings and my seven-year-old bursts in to declare “Wow, that is so pretty, did they make all that just now.” No, I did it earlier,” I assure her. “Daddy, you’re the greatest,” she assures me.

OK, we’ve a new leader. This is the best I’ve seen and by far.

nigeria tracksuit

Ese Brume celebrates her long jump bronze. Photograph: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Great Britain, meanwhile, look an absolute mess, you’ll be shocked to learn: shorts with a belt and a miserable white polo shirt with what looks like a bad tatt on the shoulder but is some kind of flag design. Absolute dizgraze.

Japan’s massive are wearing identical trainers, a kind of hot red, which match their jackets. I don’t like the round neck, but the colour is extremely arresting.


Photograph: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

“I see some mingling,” says Andrew Cotter, as Australia come in wearing, let’s be real, an absolutely dreadful green and gold polo shirt and white-shorts combo. No.

andre leon talley

Andre Leon Talley over here. Photograph: Araya Diaz/Getty Images

Here come USA, bouncing about in white trackies. Must do better – when you’ve got blue and red to play with, you’ve got much more scope to do something good – these are too plai.

These Jamaica tracksuits are tremendous – so much so that the team are wearing them as they come in, though it’s a zillion degrees in Toyko,

jamaica tracksuits

Photograph: DPPI/Yuya Nagase/LiveMedia/REX/Shutterstock

“The mournful music you mentioned,” begins Xu Yun Liang as I realise I’ve announced a gaping hole in my general knowledge to the world. “That’s the theme from master Ozu’s opus Tokyo Story. I guess it might be equivalent of DJ playing Star Wars theme 7 years later in Los Angeles?”

Fantastic, thanks.

Here come the athletes, some kind of big-band show-tune playing. I daresay some will have taken drink in keeping with ancient tradition, though the customary adult gymnastics may be compromised by the pandemic.

Flag bearers and volunteers enter the Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony

Flag bearers and volunteers enter the Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters


Instead, we get another montage, and my eyeballs are a-sweatin’.

In case you’re wondering, the flag-marching is still going on, representatives of every country emerging to stand in a circle around a rostrum. More news as I get it. I reckon someone should grab the mic, give it “I said a hip-hop, the hippie, the hippie, to the hip, hip-hop and you don’t stop the rockin, to the bang-bang boogie, say up jump the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat”, then see what happens next.

“What’s struck me about these Games,” says James Taylor, “has been the great camaraderie between the athletes and the sheer joy of them being able to compete at an event they must have thought may never happen. It’s been such a difficult 18 months for everyone but I can’t imagine the commitment to train for something that was always in doubt. It’s also been striking for the awareness It’s raised over mental health and the pressure these athletes are under. The human side of sport has really displayed itself at its best.”

Yup, can’t argue with any of that – I can only imagine the terror of thinking they were gone and relief that they weren’t.

Laura Kenny has the union flag, and that seems a solid decision to me – her joy is so compelling and infectious.

Here’s my song of the summer is this – and it’s one for the fantastic Alex Scott. Yes, I’m calling that a segue.

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