Birmingham 2022 bids farewell after 11 spectacular days of sport and unity

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“TOGETHER” was displayed on a giant chimney in the center of Alexander Stadium in front of 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories during the spectacular Closing Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on August 8.

The neon sign shone as a reminder of how inclusive these fully integrated Games had been for athletes with disabilities and able-bodied who competed side by side for 11 days and now celebrated together in full view of the world.

There had been 19 sports and eight Paralympic sports – the most ever – and the medals won by the athletes were combined in their overall team tally.

Capacity crowds at every venue, along with a global television audience, witnessed exceptional athleticism, skill and courage in the West Midlands city in England.

There was also a celebration of firsts with three world records broken in Paralympic sports. These include Australian swimmer Katja Dedekind’s S13 women’s 50m freestyle throw, Goodness Chiemerie Nwachukwu’s throw in the women’s discus F42 category and fellow Nigerian Alice Folashade Oluwafemiayo who collected 155 points in the female category Para powerlifting 86 kg.

Birmingham’s vibrant history and culture lit up the stage during the closing ceremony. @Alex Livesey/Getty Images

As Birmingham said goodbye to the athletes, Games organizers promised their legacy would live on.

“Every Brummie, every volunteer, every athlete in the Commonwealth helps write a new chapter in our history,” said Dame Louise Martin DBE, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, at the closing ceremony.

“The legacy of Birmingham 2022 is now yours. The incredible spirit of these Games will continue through your actions, your pride and your humanity.

cultural show

The theme of pride resonated loudly in the stadium of the dynamic and multicultural host city. To the cheers of the crowd of 30,000, the athletes danced and sang to the high-octane, high-energy music of the singing legends Birmingham have produced over generations.

The Midnight Runners of Dexy, UB40, Goldie and Beverley Knight followed up their successes with Jorja Smith, Apache Indian and The Selecter.

There were a series of sets championing the region’s cultural heritage, from homages marking Wolverhampton’s 80s street art scene to legendary music venue Broad St Rum Runner and how it inspired music and fashion around the world, as well as the working-class people who helped build the city and the hit global TV drama Peaky Blinders.

Retired Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds spoke at the Closing Ceremony of the Fully Integrated Games. @Alex Pantling/Getty Images

More than 1,000 artists moved through the vast, multi-level, multi-storey industrial building, designed to mirror the production lines and factories of the West Midlands. Birmingham is one of the seats of the industrial revolution and is traditionally known for its steel industry.

Martin Green, Creative Director of Birmingham 2022, said: “It was overwhelming to see how the whole of the UK embraced these Games and the incredible sporting and cultural talent on display.

“Love for our bull [the city’s mascot]for thousands of people at our festival sites, this summer has been like no other, in one of the best cities in the country.

Next stop: Australia

The Commonwealth Games flag was ceremonially lowered during an emotional performance by Birmingham-based singer-songwriter Jacob Banks. It was given to Dame Louise Martin then to Linda Dessau, the Governor of Victoria in Australia where the next Games will take place in four years.

Australian Indigenous leaders gave a carved message stick to Dame Louise before performing a culturally significant smoking ceremony. A group of contemporary dancers then moved to a video backdrop that showcased the art, culture and beauty of the host cities of Victoria 2026.

Victoria, Australia will host the next edition of the Commonwealth Games in 2026. @ Alex Davidson/Getty Images

There were also musical performances by Australian man Proud Yolngu, Danzal Baker, known as Baker Boy; Taylor Henderson and multi-award winning singer-songwriter Vanessa Amorosi.

Prince Edward closed the Games on behalf of the Queen, but the curtain only fell when heavy metal rock legend ‘Brummie’ Ozzy Osborne and his band Black Sabbath blasted their hit ‘Paranoid’. The stadium erupted in cheers.

Fireworks lit up the night sky as athletes partied below. It will be four years before they are together again at the next fully integrated Commonwealth Games.

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