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News

World media hail Rio Olympic games despite flaws

Media across the world have hailed the carnival-themed closing ceremony in the Maracana Stadium in Rio as a dazzling end to what most think was an Olympic games that turned out far better than expected.

Still, some pointed out the empty seats and poor weather at the event, suggesting it was symbolic of a Games marred by a number of significant problems.
'Relief'
"Brazil celebrates the success of the Games," says a headline in the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.
Brazilian daily O Globo says those taking part in the closing ceremony seemed delighted to have taken part in "the world's most important sports event but also because it worked well".
On social media, Brazilians are mourning the end of the games, with one posting a crying emoji "I don't want this to be over" and another saying she would not mind if the Games went on "until December".
"Olympics ends in relief for Brazilians," says US paper The Washington Post, adding that the closing ceremony was a "festive Brazilian farewell to a zany 17 days of brilliant athletic performances served with a sideshow of mishaps and scares".
'Triumph'
The New York Times focuses on the positive, describing the rain during the closing ceremony in terms of "the heavens lamenting the end of the 17-day sports extravaganza".
It adds that despite concerns before the Games, many Brazilians now view them as a "triumph and a much-needed distraction from the country's economic malaise".
Spanish paper ABC is impressed by the carnival-themed closing ceremony, describing it as "a beautiful show, full of colour, play of light, fireworks, beautiful choreography, mosaics, music performances and carnival spirit", while La Vanguardia found it a "a grandiose show of light and colour".
"Rio responded," says French daily Liberation, adding that the Games "ended on a good note on the whole... despite the predictions of some Cassandras".
'Only Mario Super'
But some strike a sour note about the ceremony, and the Games in general.
"Only Mario was Super," German news magazine Spiegel says of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cameo as the game character Super Mario.
The closing ceremony was "no highlight", it says, amid "empty seats" and bad weather.
German paper Sueddeutsche Zeitung says the closing ceremony and the Games in general leave behind an impression of "cynicism".
It mocks organisers for quickly filling empty seats behind IOC President Thomas Bach as he gave his address, and adds that his opening promise of a "new world" at the games jarred with the fact that most locals could not afford tickets and the sense that athletes "did not trust each other in the slightest" following doping allegations.
German tabloid Bild has as its headline the word "Olympics", with the letters "lym" crossed out and replaced with the "leer" - the German word for "empty".
It notes that even at the "colourful farewell party", thousands of seats were empty: "A negative impression that was present throughout the Games, and will be remembered."
Discrediting Russia
In pro-government Russian daily Izvestia, Russian athlete Sergei Lisin carps at the treatment of Russian competitors by athletes from other countries angered by allegations of a state doping programme.
"At one point it looked like all Olympic ideals were forgotten and it was not a sports celebration that took place in Brazil, but some media project aimed at discrediting our country in the eyes of the whole world," he argues.
But an article in business daily Kommersant looks on the bright side: Russia's fourth place on the medal table.
"Taking into account the circumstances that accompanied the preparation for the Games, this is a very good result," it says.
In the Middle East, Qatari satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera says the Olympics ended with a "brilliant closing ceremony, despite bad weather".
But it also features a table showing only Bahrain and Jordan winning gold, despite hopes of a large haul because of the unusually large presence of Arab athletes. "The winds did not blow as the ships desire," it says, using an Arabic proverb.
It's the taking part...
In China, state media betray no disappointment at the country's performance, with national broadcaster CCTV praising the athletes for their "hard work" and calling them "the pride of China".
Several outlets highlights Chinese athletes' graciousness in defeat. "Winning gold medals does not mean everything anymore in China," says China Daily.
But Global Times says the women's volleyball team's Gold on Sunday was a "timely" highlight, after what it terms the "most boring" first half of an Olympics in 20 years.