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“You showed us all that we can be — all welcoming, tolerant, vibrant, with a future every bit as exciting and thrilling as our past,” Prime Minister David Cameron said on the stage with the British athletes. “We are a country that may be small geographically, but we can do great things.

“You showed that we can take on the world and, yes, we can win. So let the spirit that delivered these games, that celebrated Britain’s success, that brought this country together, let that spirit live on for generations to come.”

There was little talk Monday as Britain grappled with the post-games comedown about the future use of the venues or the bill of more than $15 billion to stage the festival of sport.

Everyone was savoring one final chance to revel in a summer of good news away from the gloom instilled by the sharp austerity measures being implemented.

“It wasn’t the finest summer of sport we have ever known: it was much better than that,” journalist Simon Barnes wrote on the front page of The Times of London on Monday. “It was the finest celebration of humanity in a quarter-of-a-million years of our existence. It was the best party in the history of the human race.”

A rousing concert featuring Coldplay, Rihanna and Jay-Z signaled the end of the Paralympics on Sunday night in the Olympic Stadium at the heart of the former east London industrial wasteland that was turned into a 560-acre urban park.

The Olympics have been so fantastic so we’re really sad it’s all over,” Lucy Alderman, who danced at the Olympics opening ceremony, said outside St. Paul’s Cathedral. “This feels like the end now.”