LONDON – London’s spectacular summer of sports was given a rousing send-off Sunday.

Coldplay and an all-star support cast brought the curtain down on the most-watched and best-attended Paralympic Games of all time, ending a six-week-long festival of sport in the British capital that began with the hugely successful Olympics.

Rapper Jay-Z and pop star Rihanna collaborated with the English rock band in a three-hour extravaganza at the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium honoring the spirit of festivals throughout British history.

Central to the ceremony — called the “Festival of the Flame” — were the 4,200 Paralympians from 164 nations who sat around the field of play from the start. The past 11 days of memorable competition have shifted perceptions and shattered stereotypes.

“People are going to look back at this Paralympic Games and for the first time really, truly believe that Paralympic sport is not just inspirational, it’s hard-core sport,” said South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius, the iconic figure of the Paralympics.

A moving tribute to wounded British servicemen and members of the British army opened the show and saw Capt. Luke Sinnott, who lost both legs from above the knee in a 2010 explosion in Afghanistan, hang the Union Jack at the top of the flagpole in the middle of the stadium.

Proud flag-bearers marched in before a motorcade of 25 trucks, in a variety of shapes including peacocks and fish, stormed the stadium and kick-started Coldplay’s set list.

Hits like “Clocks,” “Viva La Vida” and “Paradise” were belted out, rocking an arena that has been the focus of the sporting world since the end of July.

The baton was to be handed to Rio when the cauldron — made up of 200 petals — is extinguished, ending the biggest games in the 52-year history of the Paralympics.

The 2012 Paralympics have broken all records, with 2.7 million spectators cramming into venues and more than $70 million raised in ticket sales. The games were broadcast in more than 100 countries.

In total, 251 world records were broken over the 11 days.

Prince Harry ready for helicopter training

LONDON – Prince Harry is finishing his first phase of initial training at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

The 27-year-old Army captain arrived in Afghanistan for his second tour there Friday but will not start flying Apache helicopter missions for at least a week.

The third-in-line to the British throne was expected to complete his two-day course in first aid, shooting, and roadside-bomb awareness on Sunday.

He then is to start Apache-specific preparation Monday.

The prince’s previous posting in Afghanistan in late 2007 and early 2008 lasted only 10 weeks. It was cut short amid fears for his safety after his deployment was made public.

Tats mean lots to Depp, man he helped free

TORONTO – The man Johnny Depp helped release from Arkansas’ death row has become like a brother to him, right down to getting matching tattoos.

“This one Damien designed. It’s one of my all-time favorites, and it means quite a lot to me,” Depp said Saturday before the premiere of the documentary, “West of Memphis,” about Damien Echols and his two co-defendants.

Echols said whenever he and Depp get together, they often end up in a tattoo parlor. Depp said it’s about “celebrating the moment.”

Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin spent 18 years in prison for the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis. All three were released after agreeing to an Alford plea that allowed them to maintain their innocence while pleading guilty.

The three were the subjects of the “Paradise Lost” documentaries.

Depp, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, musician Henry Rollins and filmmaker Peter Jackson helped pay the legal fees to free the three men.

— From news service reports