Beijing - The Beijing Olympic Games ended just as they had began Sunday, with a glittering extravaganza as China made full use of one final opportunity to showcase itself to a world audience.
"The Olympic flame is not extinguished, instead, it will burn in the heart of each of us," was the message of the performance, according to Zhang Yimou, artistic director of the opening and closing ceremony, and the final event was certainly one that will live long in the memory.
Beijing - American swimmer Michael Phelps and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt rewrote the Olympic record books in Beijing where the Games were detached from reality as never before.
Competition took place in a world of its own, a Planet Olympia, while host China's communist government ruled outside as if Olympic values had never come to town.
Beijing - "Truly exceptional" Beijing Olympics ended on Sunday as London 2012 rocked to the world's attention.
International Olympic Commitee President Jacques Rogge closed the Games according to IOC tradition and then invited "the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in London to celebrate the Games of the XXX Olympiad."
Beijing - The 2008 Olympics drew an estimated television audience of 4.4 billion in the first 10 days, setting a new viewing record for an Olympic Games, market research firm Nielsen said on Sunday.
The estimated audience from August 8-17 surpassed the 3.9 billion viewers for the whole of the Athens games in 2004 and the 3.6 billion who watched the 2000 event in Sydney, the company said in a press release.
Sydney - Australians on Sunday rushed to embrace gold-winning diver Matthew Mitcham who emerged from the Beijing pool both giant-killer and a gay icon.
The 20-year-old charmer shed tears after a near-perfect final dive edged him above the hot favourite to the top place on the podium. It was the eighth and last medal in the diving and everyone expected China's Zhou Luxin to triumph.
"Everything, absolutely everything I have done, has been for this," he said. "Now it's happened and I never thought it would."
Beijing - The US on Sunday stunned the defending champions Brazil in the final of the men's Olympic volleyball tournament in Beijing.
After dropping the first set 25-20, the Americans fought back to win the next three sets 25-22, 25-21 and 25-23 for a 3-1 victory.
Beijing - Zou Shiming of China claimed the men's light flyweight boxing gold medal Sunday when he beat Serdamba Purevdorj of Mongolia in the final.
Beijing - China organized an exceptional Olympics in which US swimmer Michael Phelps and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt stood out, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said hours before Sunday's closing ceremony at the Beijing Games.
Beijing - The Russian group all-around team in the rhythmic gymnastics on Sunday successfully defended their Olympic title.
Russia won the gold with 35.550 points from the hosts China, who had 35.225. Bronze went to Belarus.
The result sees Russian Elena Posevina become a double-gold medallist after having already picked up gold in Athens four years ago.
The event brings the Beijing Olympic gymnastics competition, which the hosts and the US dominated, to a close. (dpa)
Beijing - The United States on Sunday urged China to release eight US citizens who were sentenced last week to 10 days in detention for their role in a series of protests in support of Tibetan independence.
US Ambassador to China Clark T. Randt raised the issue of the detentions with Chinese officials on Saturday and called for the immediate release of the eight, US embassy spokeswoman Susan Stevenson said in a statement.
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