SOPHIE Pascoe was New Zealand’s Golden Girl of the Paralympics, but didn’t get to step foot inside the Olympic Stadium until yesterday.
Christchurch’s Pascoe, winner of three gold and three silver medals, was New Zealand’s flagbearer at the Paralympic closing ceremony.
She headlined a strong Kiwi effort from the 24-strong team which saw them claim 17 medals.
The 19-year-old missed the opening ceremony as she was racing the next day, and had been yet to step inside the 80,000 seat stadium.
”I’m a proud Kiwi and this is just another reward for my success,” she told APNZ just before walking into the ceremony.
”Not getting to experience the opening ceremony, this will be doubly special.”
The finale was a fitting conclusion to the suummer of sport, with Coldplay and an all-star support cast featuring Rhihanna and Jay-Z bringing down the curtain on the best-attended Paralympic Games of all time.
Rapper Jay-Z and pop star Rihanna collaborated with the English rock band in a three-hour extravaganza, honouring the spirit of festivals throughout British history.
”I think people are going to look back at this Paralympic Games and for the first time really, truly believe that Paralympic sport is not just inspirational, it’s hard-core sport,” said South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius, the iconic figure of the Paralympics.
In total 2.7 million spectators watched the Paralympic Games, and more the $70 million was raised in ticket sales.
In total, 251 world records were broken over the 11 days.
New Zealand finished 21st on the medal table with six gold, seven silver and four bronze.