Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Olympics: Kiwis fly within day of after-party

The Spice Girls will feature at the closing ceremony. Photo / AP
The Spice Girls will feature at the closing ceremony. Photo / AP

It's being called "the greatest after-party in the world" - but the Kiwi athletes heading home after the Olympics closing ceremony tomorrow won't have long to recover.

Millions are expected to tune in as the Games' closing ceremony kicks off about 7.45am (NZ time) with a smorgasbord of British music sharing the limelight with the traditional handover to 2016 host city Rio de Janeiro and the extinguishing of the Olympic flame.

New Zealand Chef de Mission Dave Currie confirmed most of our contingent at the Games would be there, but most would be on a plane home within 24 hours of it.

Although organisers of the closing ceremony extravaganza, A Symphony of British Music, have tried to keep things secret, George Michael has been confirmed in the line-up of 20 pre-eminent British music acts from over the last half-century.

The Spice Girls have been photographed rehearsing in the past day or so, and bands The Who, the Pet Shop Boys and current boyband favourite One Direction are likely to front.

Singers Adele, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Mick Jagger and Kate Bush are also expected to step up to the microphone, while 4000 ordinary Brits will play a part.

Closing ceremony music director David Arnold, whose credits include half a dozen Bond films, described the event to media as the "greatest after-party in the world".

Te Awamutu-raised expat dancer Ian Vincent will perform as part of the cast of the hit show Stomp.

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New Zealand Olympic Committee spokeswoman Ashley Abbott confirmed most Kiwi athletes would be on two flights arriving in Auckland on Wednesday morning.

A few Olympians have chosen to take well-deserved holidays after the Games, with equestrian Mark Todd booked in for a family skiing holiday.

Kiwi swimmer Natalie Wiegersma will continue her break from the tiny Southland hamlet of Dacre with a week visiting family in the Netherlands;

rising swim star Lauren Boyle, who finished an impressive fourth in the women's 800m freestyle, is heading to Germany to see an old school friend; and another swimmer, Dylan Dunlop-Barrett, is off to Poland.

- Herald on Sunday

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