The Sochi Olympics have reached the finish line.
After gold medals were awarded in 98 events over more than two weeks of competition, the 2014 Winter Games will officially conclude with the closing ceremony at Fisht Stadium in the Olympic Park on Sunday. The ceremony will cap the most expensive Olympic Games ever. Russian president Vladimir Putin, who made frequent appearances during the 18 days of competition, committed $51 billion to pulling off the Games in Sochi amid concerns about security and basic infrastructure.
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Despite the unprecedented spending, the blockbuster opening ceremony featured a high-profile malfunction that resulted in only four of the five interlocking Olympic rings lighting up during a key moment. Sochi 2014 creative director Konstantin Ernst showed he could joke about the lighting misfire during a press conference before the closing ceremony by sporting a T-shirt with the four Olympic rings and a snowflake.
“The Closing Ceremony is always different from the Opening Ceremony,” Ernst explained. “In our case we decided to turn the Opening Ceremony into a kind of blockbuster, whereas the Closing Ceremony will be more down the art-house avenue.”
While there is no formal, lengthy "Parade Of Nations" as is traditional during the opening ceremony, each nation will be represented by a flag bearer and at least some of the athletes who competed during the closing ceremony. U.S. women's hockey player Julie Chu will carry the flag for her nation after earning a silver medal. In addition to featuring closing remarks by International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, the closing ceremony will also include the extinguishing of the Olympic cauldron in Sochi and the handing over of the Olympic flag to a delegation from Pyeongchang, South Korea. The host of the 2018 Winter Olympics, Pyeongchang will introduce itself to viewers around the world with a brief performance.
For those waiting to watch on television in the United States, NBC will broadcast the closing ceremony at 8:30 p.m. ET. It will also be available to watch live online at NBCOlympics.com.
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Athletes pouring out of stands to dance on the stadium floor with Games volunteers.— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) 5 years ago
Official ceremonies are mostly done. Now it is the time we dance ...— Joe Fleming (@ByJoeFleming) 4 years ago
And now, a dance party on the stadium floor. Athletes streaming out of the stands to join in.— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) 4 years ago
Fireworks show outside the stadium is causiing the stadium to vibrate. #closingceremony #sochi— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) 5 years ago
Yellow petals fall from the ceiling. 3000 children carry flowers called mimosas. Spring is here (arguably felt that way most of the games).— Tamara Keith (@tamarakeithNPR) 5 years ago
The #Olympic flame has been extinguished. On to Rio #Sochi2014— Paul Newberry (@pnewberry1963) 4 years ago
Bear about to snuff out flame in stadium pic.twitter.com/Dblv5ysNIh— Philip Hersh (@olyphil) February 23, 2014
A tear goes down the cheek of the giant mascot bear as the flame goes out. Outside the cauldron is extinguished …— Alan Abrahamson (@alanabrahamson) 5 years ago
The Olympic mascot bear just blew out the flame and then shed a tear. Wow.
I know these ceremonies can border on outrageous over the top ... but where I am, we are are riveted.— Joe Fleming (@ByJoeFleming) 4 years ago
Mascot time! #nightmarebear is back, animatronic, on skates and better than ever. #nprsochi— Tamara Keith (@tamarakeithNPR) 5 years ago
The giant Sochi mascots are back pic.twitter.com/9jUWdfxoj3— Steve Wilson (@stevewilsonap) February 23, 2014
It's all mascots and mirrors now in the closing ceremony. No smoke though.— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) 4 years ago
Those giant Olympic mascots are back on the stage at the closing ceremony.
Bach declares Olympic games officially closed and huge cheer erupts in some sections of press center..lots of folks want to go home— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) 5 years ago
While the prez of IOC is speaking the athletes are doing selfies #Sochi2014— MarthaBellisle (@marthabellisle) 3 years ago
Per tradition, Bach calls on the youth of the world to gather four years from now in Pyeongchang.— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) 5 years ago
Bach has declared the 2014 Winter Olympic Games closed.
"There were the athletes' games. We arrived with great respect for the rich and varied history of Russia. We leave as friends of the Russian people." - Bach
IOC president Thomas Bach says the "new Russia" is "patriotic and open to the world."
Bach says everoyne with "an open mind" could see the new Russia, which is effecient and friendly.— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) 5 years ago
Bach appeals to those involved in confrontation, oppression, violence to follow the Olympic example of harmony and peace. Also thanks Putin.— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) 5 years ago
IOC President Bach thanks Putin and says, "What took decades in other parts of the world was achieved here in Sochi in just seven years."— Anton Troianovski (@AntonWSJ) 4 years ago
Thomas Bach: "Tonight we can say Russia delivered all what it had promised."
IOC Prez Thomas Bach says :"impeccable organization" at these games. "tonight we can say Russia delivered all what it had promised."— Jared S. Hopkins (@JaredSHopkins) 4 years ago