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Stage set for 2012 closing ceremony
Big Ben's chimes have rung out across the Olympic Stadium to mark the start of the pre-show to the London 2012 closing ceremony.
The stage was set with paper sculptures of the capital's landmarks, including the London Eye, Big Ben and Tower Bridge, covering the centre of the stadium where Mo Farah took his second gold just 24 hours ago.
Traditionally, the closing ceremony is a chance to celebrate what the athletes have achieved, with Olympics supremo Lord Coe describing the night as a time to "party, party, party".
As the pre-show started an hour before the final extravaganza, crowds were entertained by the Hackney Colliery Band. In a traditional audience warm-up, the thousands of people packing the stadium watched as a blue pick-up truck circled the track around the paper sculptures.
Volunteers wearing orange bowler hats helped lead the crowd as they clapped along, while at one point everyone was encouraged to take a photograph at the same time, lighting up the stadium with a sea of flickering camera flashes. The crowds later joined in with a rendition of Queen's We Are The Champions as they eagerly awaited the start of the show.
The handover from London 2012 to the Rio 2016 team will take place along with the extinguishing of the flame, signalling the end of the Games. Traditionally, it is a chance to celebrate what the athletes have achieved and also for a massive party.
The 2012 closing ceremony - called A Symphony Of British Music - will celebrate music as one of Britain's strongest cultural exports over the last 50 years. Many of the 10,000 athletes will be involved and will reportedly file past spectators along the aisles of the arena before gathering around the central stage in their own "mosh pit".
Pop stars expected to perform include the Spice Girls, George Michael, the Pet Shop Boys, The Who, Jessie J and Tinie Tempah. Ben Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history, will carry the flag for the British team at the ceremony.
US President Barack Obama called Prime Minister David Cameron earlier to "congratulate him and the people of the United Kingdom and London on an extremely successful Olympic Games", a White House spokesman said. It "speaks to the character and spirit of our close ally", he added.
"The President thanked the Prime Minister for hosting so many US athletes and fans and for the extremely warm welcome shown to First Lady Michelle Obama."