Page last updated at 18:27 GMT, Sunday, 24 August 2008 19:27 UK

Wales joins Olympic celebrations

Big screen watchers in Swansea
Crowds in Swansea watched the closing ceremony on a big screen

Cities and towns throughout Wales have joined celebrations marking the end of the Beijing Olympics and the handover of the games to London in 2012.

Cardiff, Swansea, and Wrexham were among those marking the success of Team GB on Sunday, including three golds and two silvers for Welsh athletes.

Local venues saw flag-raising ceremonies, and big screens allowed spectators to see the closing ceremony.

They will be followed on Tuesday by a public celebration in Cardiff Bay.

Many of Sunday's festivities in Cardiff were taking place in Roahl Dahl Plass against the backdrop of the Mermaid Quay Cardiff Harbour Festival, including a big screen.


Team GB has had incredible success in Beijing this year and Cardiff is keen to show our support for their achievements as well as begin the countdown for London 2012

Nigel Howells, Cardiff council

Cardiff joined in with a celebratory event that saw parachutists from the Royal Artillery Parachute display team - the Black Knights - jumping out of a plane carrying the Union Flag and Olympic flags.

The Olympic flag landed in the water at Cardiff Bay, and was then brought to shore by the Penarth lifeboat and passed to a group of young gymnasts, cyclists and rowers, all hoping to compete in the 2012 games.

The flag was then raised in Roald Dahl Plass, where a screen brought images of the closing ceremony of the Beijing games to the thousands of spectators gathered there.

Cardiff council's executive member for sport, Nigel Howells said: "Team GB has had incredible success in Beijing this year and Cardiff is keen to show our support for their achievements as well as begin the countdown for London 2012."

Cardiff also saw a flag-raising ceremony at the Millennium Stadium and the Welsh Institute of Sport in Sophia Gardents.

The Army Cadet Force were joined by representatives from the Sports Council for Wales at the institute.

In Swansea, coverage of the closing ceremony and the 2012 party was provided on a big screen in Castle Square.

The event also included a performance by the Samba band, Samba Tawe.

During the afternoon Berwyn Price, Swansea's former Olympian raised the flag with Swansea lord mayor Gareth Sullivan.

Also at the ceremony was Glenda Phillips, who swam the 110 yards butterfly at the Tokyo games in 1964.

The Morriston Phoenix Choir performed and sang with the audience.

In Bridgend, local sports stars and potential future raised the flag, and in Pontypool paralympian Caroline Matthews help Torfaen council officials do the same.

She will be flying out to Beijing on 29 August to take part in the Paralympics.

"Playing wheelchair basketball for my country is simply the most amazing experience - but to play at the largest multi-sport tournament in the world, the Paralympics, is particularly incredible.

"I went to the Athens Paralympics in 2004, but having watched the Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony and some of the events so far, I am certain that the Beijing Paralympics will be even more fantastic - and I can't wait to get out there and get stuck into the competition," she added.

In Wrexham a flag was raised in Queens Square to mark the handing over of the Olympics to London for the 2012 Games.

Ken Matthews, who won gold in the walking event at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, joined mayor David Griffiths on the square to mark the event.

Nine of the 12 Welsh Olympians, including all five medallists, will be welcomed home at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay on Tuesday. An open-top bus will tour Cardiff Bay from 1130BST, arriving at the home of the Welsh assembly at noon.




SEE ALSO
Beijing bids farewell to Olympics
24 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Cooke grabs first GB gold medal
10 Aug 08 |  Cycling


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