International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Jacques Rogge declared the Beijing Olympics officially closed on Sunday bringing down the curtain on a glittering 16-day long sports extravaganza.
"These were truly exceptional Games!" said Rogge at the end of the first Olympics organised by China.
The Beijing Olympics, which opened on August 8, saw China for the first time emerge as the dominant sports country at the Games taking 51 golds to 36 for the United States and 23 for Russia.
They were also a massive landmark showcasing China's full emergence as a world political and economic superpower.
Presiding at his second Games, Rogge said at the conclusion to a lavish closing ceremony in the Olympic Stadium that through the Beijing Olympics "the world learned more about China and China learned more about the world."
"New stars were born. Stars from past Games amazed us again. We shared their joys and their tears, and we marveled at their ability. We will long remember the achievements we witnessed here," he said.
"As we celebrate the success of these Games, let us together wish the best for the talented athletes who will soon participate in the Paralympic Games. They also inspire us.
"To the athletes tonight: You were true role models. You have shown us the unifying power of sport. The Olympic spirit lives in the warm embrace of competitors from nations in conflict. Keep that spirit alive when you return home.
"These were truly exceptional Games!
"And now, in accordance with tradition, I declare the Games of the 29th Olympiad closed, and I call upon the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in London to celebrate the Games of the 30th Olympiad.
The Olympic flag was then to be passed on to the mayor of London Boris Johnson.