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Rio turns hosting duties over to Tokyo

USA TODAY SPORTS USA TODAY SPORTS 22/08/2016 Nate Scott

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears during the closing ceremony in the Maracana stadium at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © AP Photo Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears during the closing ceremony in the Maracana stadium at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) It’s Tokyo’s turn now.

At the end of Sunday evening’s closing ceremonies to the 2016 Rio Olympics, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, stepped onto the main stage, where he met the governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike and IOC President Thomas Bach for the official handing over of the Olympic flag.

After the playing of the Greek national anthem — a tradition as Greece was the host of the first Games — the Olympic flag was lowered to the sound of the Olympic anthem. It was then taken by Paes, who waved it proudly, handed it to Bach, who did the same, before offering it to Koike.

The look of relief and pride on Paes’ face was apparent as he handed over the flag, thus signaling the end of Rio’s tenure as the host city of the summer Olympics and the start of Tokyo’s. The Japanese city will host the next summer Games in 2020.

Rio turns hosting duties over to Tokyo © Guy Rhodes, USA TODAY Sports Rio turns hosting duties over to Tokyo After Koike waved the flag, the crowd stood for the national anthem of Japan. A Japanese flag was then superimposed on the floor of Maracana Stadium, and it gave way to a message: “Obrigado Rio,” which means “Thank you Rio” in Portuguese. The large screens in the stadium then played a video announcing Tokyo’s role as the next host, complete with a Super Mario Bros. appearance.

The triumphant conclusion had the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, rise out of the floor wearing a Super Mario hat, toss is off, and then wave to the crowd.

Paes received a mixture of cheers and boos when his name was announced to the crowd at Maracana Stadium.

During the procession of the Olympians, Japan’s athletes waved both Japan flags and Brazil flags, a nod to the handoff that would occur later in the evening.

For Paes, the Games have to be counted as an overall success. Aside from some drama involving a certain group of American swimmers and a few logistical hangups, the city did what it set out to do in putting on the Games. The city still has the Paralympic Games next month, but for now, it can take a breath.

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