Plans to fly giant Olympic flag from Eiffel Tower abandoned due to strong winds as Tokyo Games end

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Watch: France celebrates Olympic handover with stunning Paris flyby

Plans to fly a giant Olympic flag from the Eiffel Tower were abandoned due to strong winds as the Tokyo Games ended.

The Paris 2024 Olympics organising committee had hoped to unfurl "the biggest flag ever flown", as part of the handover from Tokyo to the French capital.

But its plans were scuppered because of the weather and spectators had to make do with musical performances and a stunning air show. 

Several thousand people were seen waving the tricolour flag thronged into a fan zone across the river from the Eiffel Tower.

PARIS, FRANCE - AUGUST 08: French Elite acrobatic team Patrouille de France flyes over the Eiffel Tower during the Olympic Games handover ceremony on August 08, 2021 in Paris, France. On August 8, during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, will officially receive the Olympic flag for the handover ceremony to mark Paris 2024 Olympic Games (July 26-August 11) and Paralympics (August 28-September 8). (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
French Elite acrobatic team Patrouille de France flies over the Eiffel Tower during the Olympic Games handover ceremony (Getty)
PARIS, FRANCE - AUGUST 08: French Olympic medalist Teddy Riner walks through the crowd during the Olympic Games handover ceremony on August 08, 2021 in Paris, France. On August 8, during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, will officially receive the Olympic flag for the handover ceremony to mark Paris 2024 Olympic Games (July 26-August 11) and Paralympics (August 28-September 8). (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
French Olympic medalist Teddy Riner walks through the crowd during the Olympic Games handover ceremony in Paris. (Getty)

In Tokyo, cyclist Laura Kenny had been selected as Great Britain’s flag bearer for the closing ceremony.

Kenny was honoured to hold the UK flag after claiming her fifth Olympic title and becoming the first British woman to win gold at three successive games.

She won the women's Madison alongside Katie Archibald.

Kenny said: "The past 18 months have been tough for everyone, and I really hope me and my Team GB team-mates have given the nation something to celebrate.

"It hasn’t quite sunk in that I am now Britain’s most successful female athlete, all I know is that I’ve worked so hard to be here and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, friends and everyone at British Cycling."

IZU, JAPAN - AUGUST 06: (L-R) Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald of Team Great Britain celebrate winning a gold medal while holding the flag of they country during the Women's Madison final of the track cycling on day fourteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Izu Velodrome on August 06, 2021 in Izu, Japan. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Laura Kenny (left) and Katie Archibald celebrate winning a gold medal. (Getty)
TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 08: Flag bearer Laura Kenny of Team Great Britain during the Closing Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 08, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Flag bearer Laura Kenny of Team Great Britain during the closing ceremony. (Getty)
TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 8, 2021:Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo (R front) receives the Olympic flag from IOC President Thomas Bach (L) during the closing ceremony of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games at the Japan National Stadium (a.k.a the Olympic Stadium). The Olympic Games were held amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The closing ceremony features live and pre-recorded elements. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images)
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo (R front) receives the Olympic flag from IOC President Thomas Bach (L). (Getty)

Athletes got a surreal glimpse of everyday Tokyo life when the closing ceremony was briefly transformed into a park with grass, buskers and BMX riders in a valediction after weeks spent under the regime of a pandemic Games.

Performers danced, skipped and played soccer, mingling and waving to athletes, who gathered closely together on the grass. 

Organisers said the scene was meant so they could "experience Tokyo", a poignant nod to the fact that many spent their time at the Games cooped up in rooms or competing in venues.

When Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo received the flag from IOC president Thomas Bach during the closing ceremony, another flag was meant to be raised from the Eiffel Tower.

Paris Games chief Tony Estanguet said: "We waited an extra year for this moment (after Tokyo 2020 Games were postponed due to the pandemic).

"The excitement is very strong. We want to start with a world record. It's the biggest flag every raised, ever.

"It's more or less the equivalent of a football field. So it's true that it will be big. It will be the first world record of Paris 2024 since it would be the biggest flag ever raised."

"We have this luck to have 'the most beautiful flag bearer in the world' with the Eiffel Tower. So our challenge is to be able to raise this flag, and fly this flag in Paris on the Eiffel Tower."

Visitors walk in the fan village of the Trocadero, in front of the Eiffel Tower, on August 1, 2021. (Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP) (Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP via Getty Images)
A 'world record-breaking' flag will be flown at the Eiffel Tower. (Getty)

Paris, which will host the Games exactly 100 years after last organising the Olympics in 1924, will also stage a tour of the country for the Olympic flag as it prepares for the first European summer Olympics since London 2012.

Paris mayor Hidalgo added: "The Olympic flag will make a tour of France.

"It symbolises the Olympic values and we want to share it.

"It arrives in Paris and it will not be stored away from view of the citizens who whom it belongs.”

Watch: Team GB collect 20 gold medals

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