By NAN Sports Editor
News Americas, RIO, Brazil, Mon. Aug. 22, 2016: As the curtains came down on the 31st Olympiad in Rio, Brazil, amidst a spectacular early carnival party in the Maracana stadium, several Caribbean athletes proudly carried their nation’s flags into the arena.
While many were hoping that triple Olympian and world’s fastest man, nine time Olympic medalist Usain Bolt would have been the flag bearer of Jamaica, he was nowhere to be seen at the closing ceremony.
Instead, the Jamaican flag was carried in by track and field athlete Javon Francis at Sunday’s closing ceremony. The 21-year-old sprinter earned a silver medal for his home country in the men’s 4×400 meter relay on Saturday, along with his four other teammates in the final heat. Rio 2016 was Francis’ first Olympic Games.
The flag bearers of other Caribbean nations were as follows:
Antigua & Barbuda – 17-year-old swimmer Noah Mascoll-Gomes
Aruba – 21-year-old sailor Nicole Van Der Velven
Barbados – 21-year-old track and field athlete Akela Jones
Bahamas – 35 year-old triple jumper Leevan Sands
Belize – 29-year-old runner Brandon Jones
Cayman Islands – 22-year-old swimmer Lara Butler
Cuba – 34-year-old gold medal winning wrestler Mijain Lopez Nunez
Dominican Republic – 22-year-old bronze winning taekwondo specialist Luisto Pie
Grenada – 23-year-old decathlon athlete Lindon Victor
Guyana – 27-year-old triple jumper Troy Doris
Haiti – 29-year-old hurdler Jeffrey Julmis
Saint Lucia – 21-year-old high jumper Jeanelle Scheper
Saint Vincent & The Grenadines – 30-year-old women’s 400-m runner Alexander Kineke
St. Kitts/Nevis – 27-year-old runner Antoine Adams
Trinidad & Tobago – 37-year-old shot-putter Cleopatra Borel
THE CLOSING CELEBRATION HIGHLIGHTS
The Maracana was turned into a street carnival as the ceremony celebrated Brazil’s art, music and dance.
Highlights included human formations of iconic Rio landmarks Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain.
One of the biggest cheers of the night came when Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared dressed as computer game character Super Mario, rising out of a huge green pipe in the stadium. The 2020 Olympics will be held in Tokyo.
The Olympic flame was extinguished by a rain shower, which then gave life to a large tree sculpture to symbolize rebirth.
The Rio carnival anthem ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’ played as the party reached a crescendo.
Brazilian model Izabel Goulart led a parade of 50 women and 200 dancers, who were joined by a sound truck containing 12 carnival queens.
The ceremony concluded with a confetti and firework show.
CARIBBEAN MEDAL COUNT
The Caribbean concluded the Summer Games with 28 medals in total.
See more here.