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Spice Girls to rock Olympic close
10:14 AEST Sat Aug 11 2012

The London Games are set to end in a blazing tribute to British pop and pizazz, with a closing ceremony that will see stars from the Spice Girls to The Who turn Olympic Stadium into a giant jukebox of musical hits.

Two weeks of sporting drama wrap up Sunday with what music director David Arnold has called "the greatest after-party in the world."

"If the opening ceremony was the wedding, then we're the wedding reception," Arnold told the Daily Telegraph - with everyone from the Pet Shop Boys to Annie Lennox and Fatboy Slim on hand to get people dancing.

Although organisers have tried to keep the ceremony under wraps, many details have leaked out in the British media - and some of the performers have let the cat out of the bag themselves.

The Who, George Michael, Muse and Ed Sheeran have all said they will take part in a show that will include performances of 30 British hit singles from the past five decades.

Tips and photos have emerged from the rehearsal venue, an old car plant in east London.

The Spice Girls were photographed dancing atop black London taxis, so a rendition of their biggest hit, "Wannabe," seems certain.

So does an appearance by surviving members of Queen, whose "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" have been ever-present at the games.

And Ray Davies of The Kinks is tipped to perform his majestic London ballad "Waterloo Sunset."

Paul McCartney has already performed at the opening ceremony, but it's inconceivable that there won't be a bit of Beatles music in a tribute to the best of British pop.

And organisers will want to include younger acts such as Tinie Tempah, Jessie J, Emeli Sande and the Kaiser Chiefs.

Organisers have said they want the ceremony to be a "cheeky" reflection of modern Britain, so expect touches of Monty Pythonesque humour - perhaps even Python Eric Idle leading a mass rendition of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."

The Daily Mail newspaper published photographs of what it said was the set, involving reconstructions of London landmarks such as St Paul's Cathedral and Tower Bridge.

The show won't be short on spectacle. Director Kim Gavin has overseen tours for the band Take That and directed London's 2007 Princess Diana memorial concert. Designer Es Devlin has created sets for everyone from Lady Gaga to the Royal Opera.

As with director Danny Boyle's opening ceremony, London is aiming for a plucky, irreverent tone far removed from Beijing's 2008 Olympic closer, which was heavy on precision displays of fireworks, acrobatics and dancing.

"It's not anything desperately profound," London games chief Sebastian Coe said. "It's not the opening ceremony but I think it will be great. It's basically a tribute to British music over the last few decades. It's fun."

There will also be a section of song and dance created by the next Summer Games host country, Brazil.

And of course there will be ceremonial elements, including an athletes' march, the raising of the flags of Greece - birthplace of the Olympics - current hosts Great Britain and 2016 games host Brazil, speeches and the extinguishing of the Olympic cauldron, marking the handover of the games to Rio.

But the main event will be a mashup of music, theatre, circus and hit parade.

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Archery
Athletics
Badminton
Basketball
Beach Volleyball
Boxing
BMX
Cycling
Diving
Equestrian
Fencing
Football
Gymnastics
Handball
Hockey
Judo
Modern Pentathlon
Rowing/Canoe/Kayak
Sailing
Shooting
Swimming
Synchro
Table Tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water Polo
Weightlifting
Wrestling
Closing ceremony
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