London Bridge: How the 2012 Olympics Brought People Together

Thomas Coex / AFP / Getty Images

Performers and athletes gather inside the Olympic stadium during the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games in London on August 12, 2012. Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympic Games.

There was a point during the closing ceremony of the London Olympics when Sebastian Coe, the Games' organizer, began to gush. I mean, really, really pour on the love. The object of his affection was not the athletes who had broken world records, or made history as their nations' first female representatives (I'm looking at you, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Brunei). No, Coe's ardor was reserved for those who built the stadiums and guarded the venues, among other key support staff. "Thank you to the tens of thousands of volunteers," he said, "who gave their time, their boundless enthusiasm and their...

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