The Olympics closing ceremony evoked many different emotions: success, a sense of quiet victory that is unrivaled by popularity and, for others, disappointment.

Hours after Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, handed back the Olympic flag at the climax of a series of unforgettable performances, life in London will resume – maybe not quite as it had before the Olympics. But the silence will be as deafening as the fireworks that signaled the beginning of the Games. Nonetheless, the president of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge commended the “best of British hospitality”.

But the very reason for the Games emerged within the inconspicuous athletes who hid from the spotlight: Felix Sanchez, 34, ‘wept buckets’ when he came into the podium to receive his gold medal for the 400m hurdle. It was not his first gold medal nor his first Olympics. Kiran James, 19, won Grenada it first medal for his win in the 400m. David Rushida from Kenya broke the world record for the 800m. China’s 16-year old Ye Shiwen won two consecutive golds in the 400m and 200m individual medley, breaking both Olympic and world records. These players, despite their marvelous performance, remained in the background, unlike Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and the NBA’s Lebron James and Kobe Bryant. Yet we can’t deny that these celebrity athletes gave their utmost in their respective events.

Amid the celebration of true Olympic spirit, there was also an undertone of disappointment for China, after the US snatched the top rank in the medal table. The Chinese lamented their nation’s loss, reflecting China’s appetite is still strong despite its claims at the start of the Olympics that it did not expect to win as much medals as it did in Beijing.

According to the Wall Street Journal, China was trying to prove to itself that it can beat superpower rival US. The United States got a total of 46 gold medals, with US men’s basketball winning the final gold of the Olympics. China won 38 golds, followed by Britain with 29, and Russia with 24.

As the London Games end, many are already looking forward to the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro and, firstly, the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.