South America has welcomed the arrival of the Olympic flag in Brazil after it was handed over to the mayor of Rio de Janeiro during the closing ceremony of the London Games.
Eduardo Paes said it was an "important moment" for both his city and for Brazil as he arrived back at Tom Jobim international airport.
Mr Paes and other officials had brought the five-ringed silk flag back on a flight from London, marking the start of four years of preparations ahead of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"I see the arrival of this Olympic flag as not the start, but the consolidation of an important process of transformation for the city of Rio de Janeiro," he told reporters. "Rio is a city that spent the lion's share of its history, much more time than it should have, looking towards the past.
"I'm sure that this process of transformation, this turning toward the future, has been consolidated here."
Visitors to Brazil will be able to view the flag at its temporary home in Rio's City Hall between now and 2016.
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