Tokyo bid a colourful farewell to the Paralympics on Sunday after 12 days of stereotype-defying, record-shattering performances despite a year-long pandemic delay.
International Paralympic Committee chief Andrew Parsons declared the Games closed on a cool night in the Olympic Stadium, saying they had “not just been historic, they’ve been fantastic”.
It was a game like no other, postponed a year because of the pandemic and dogged by difficulties and low public support in the build-up.
But the action did not disappoint when it got underway, with a record 86 teams winning medals and 62 claiming at least one gold.
Parsons said the Games had “opened the door”, and it was “time for us all to play our part to break down the barriers”.
The closing ceremony, with fans locked out over virus fears but with roughly 2,000 athletes and officials in attendance, took “harmonious cacophony” as its theme.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike handed the Paralympic flag over to Parsons, who passed it on to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, representing the 2024 hosts.
Parsons then announced the end of the Games, bringing the curtain down after 539 gold medals across 22 sports, contested almost entirely behind closed doors because of the virus.
“I don’t want to do this, but the time has come for me to declare the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games closed,” he said.
China finished on top of the medal table with 207, including 96 golds, followed by Britain, the United States and the Russian team.