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UK: London lowers the curtain on the Paralympic Games


London has wrapped up the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games, ending an event that organizers say has successfully shifted social attitudes. China topped the medal table, followed by Russia and hosts Britain.

The British pop band Coldplay kicked off the spectacular event at 8:30 p.m. local time on Sunday, alongside global superstars Rihanna and Jay-Z.

A cast of some 1,336 volunteers from around the world, more than 50 drummers, and warriors on rollerskates were among the performers to take part in the event. It was designed to focus on themes including military sacrifice and the changing seasons.

The three-hour extravaganza at the London Olympic Stadium ended 11 days of sporting events. A record 4,200 athletes competed in 503 contests across 20 Paralympic sports.

"I really genuinely do think that we have had a seismic effect on shifting public attitudes," London 2012 chief Sebastian Coe told a news conference at the Olympic Park on Sunday.

"I don't think people will ever see sport in the same way. I don't think they will ever see disability in the same way. We have talked about what we can do rather than what we can't do," he said.

ccp/mkg (AFP, Reuters),,16228536,00.html

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