And on Sunday evening, they pulled out all the stops one last time as the Paralympics closing show brought a spectacular summer of sport to an end.
Music was the driving force behind the night, with Coldplay, Rihanna and Jay Z joining forces to rock the Olympic stadium.
And much like during the Games themselves, the roll call of participants showed that drive and creativity can overcome adversity.
Swimmer Ellie Simmonds and sprinter Jonnie Peacock were charged with the task of extinguishing the flame that had shone so brightly since July.
Jonnie's blistering victory in the 100 metres for amputees and achondroplasia sufferer Ellie's gold medals turned them into enduring images of the bravery that defined the Paralympic Games.