'Super Mario' talks up Tokyo 2020
THE Rio Olympics ended in a blaze of colour with an exuberant closing ceremony on Sunday as Tokyo took up the baton promising to host the best Games yet in 2020.
After a rollercoaster fortnight which mixed off-field hitches with compelling sporting drama, Olympics chief Thomas Bach hailed a "marvellous" Games
in the Brazilian city.
At the closing ceremony, thousands of fans and athletes donned ponchos on a wet and windy night for a colourful festival of Brazilian culture
and music with bursts of spectacular fireworks.
Smiling and waving athletes danced into the Maracana stadium taking selfies as
Rio's 16-day Summer Games closed ahead of the
2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a comical cameo as Nintendo video game character Super Mario as Tokyo set out its store for 2020.
"The Japanese government will... work hard so it will be
the best Olympics ever,"
he said as he met Japanese medal winners earlier.
Security scares and logistical problems were a feature of South America's first Olympics, held against the backdrop of Brazil's political and economic crisis.
Swathes of empty seats caused disquiet but the Games also witnessed the last hurrahs of both Usain Bolt and
Michael Phelps, who both
lived up to their billing.
Brazil came late to the party but the country celebrated long and loud when Neymar won a gold-medal penalty shoot-out against Germany to erase memories of their 7-1
World Cup semi-final humiliation in 2014.
Brazil added a final flourish as they beat Italy 3-0 to win
the men's title in volleyball,
one of the country's
most popular sports.
French fighter Tony Yoka won a split-decision against Britain's Joe Joyce to take
the super-heavyweight title
Switzerland's world champion Nino Schurter, third in Beijing and second in London, competed his ascent of the podium by winning the men's mountain bike competition.
And there were furious scenes when a Mongolian coach stripped down to his underwear to protest a decision against wrestler Ganzorig Mandakhnaran.