The closing ceremonies included a final gathering of the hundreds of athletes from 204 countries and regions who competed in the 29th Summer Games as fireworks exploded overhead, Xinhua reported
International Olympics Committee President Jacques Rogge said the thousands of volunteers who kept the Games going showed "remarkable dedication, patience and endless smiles."
Speaking to the athletes, Rogge said, "You were true role models. You have shown us the unifying power of sport. The Olympic spirit lives in the warm embrace of competitive rivals from nations in conflict. Keep that spirit alive when you return home."
He called the 2008 Summer Olympics "truly exceptional" before calling an end to the Games.
"I call upon the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in London to celebrate the Games of the XXX Olympiad," he said.
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