We have decided to recall the best moments of the Games together with the organizers and directors of the closing ceremony – they brought to the stage all winners, medalists and even, in a move that immediately received coverage in major media outlets around the world, they poked fun at themselves (do you remember the Olympic Ring that failed to open?) The Olympic Closing Ceremony took place late on February 23 in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi. Read on for the most colorful, most beautiful, most memorable and most poignant moments of this unique show ― let us recall one more time what it was like!
The core theme of the Olympic Closing Ceremony was Russia in Reflections. Now the Arena represents the Black Sea, now we see the Chelyabinsk meteor streak over taiga wilderness, and now we revisit the best athletic highlights of the just-finished Olympic Games ― Yulia Lipnitskaya’s performance, aerial skiers, the ice dance of Olympic Champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Above it all, some kids float in a boat, the main characters of this incredible story ― we see little girl Lyuba among them, whom we will recall from the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
Extras in mirror suits emerge on stage, who literally build various symbols with their bodies on the surface of the sea ― from yin-yang to infinity, slowly transformed into the main Olympic symbol ― the five Olympic Rings. And now we see the brilliant move by the Ceremony directors and designers ― they incorporated the fifth snowflake that had failed to open completely and become the fifth Olympic Ring at the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Five stars out of five for the ingenuity!
Our Olympic Champions bring the Russian flag on to the stage, while the mixed children’s choir conducted by Valery Gergiev performs the Russian anthem. The choir includes 1,000 kids aged 9 to 14 from all across Russia. They performed the complete 4.5 minute-long version of the anthem during the Closing Ceremony. Yury Beshmet’s New Russia orchestra provides the music. The athletes sing along ― everybody knows the lyrics, except maybe Viktor An and Vic Wild (who can be forgiven for not knowing the lyrics, as they were born and raised in different countries) and… Evgeni Plushenko (which is harder to understand).
Olympians begin their parade, entering the Fisht Arena to the sounds of No Limit by 2Unlimited, a band popular in the 1990s. Athletes on stage include biathletes Darya Domracheva (of Belarus), Martin Fourcade (of France), Anastasiya Kuzmina (of Slovakia), Ole Einar Bjørndalen (of Norway), Vita Semerenko (of Ukraine), Ondřej Moravec (of the Czech Republic), short track speed skater Arianna Fontana (Italy), snowboarder Jean Coshir (of Slovenia), cross-country skier Charlotte Kalla (Sweden), luger Felix Loch (of Germany), speed skater Bob de Jong (of the Netherlands). Suddenly, we hear the motif of yet another old song well-known and loved in Russia ― «Младший лейтенант» by Irina Allegrova (likely a hint at the Defender of the Motherland Day celebrated on February 23), replaced by Gotta Go Home, the symbolic disco hit by Boney M, and, indeed, it is time to go home!
The awards ceremony begins for men and ladies’ cross-country skiing mass start. IOC President Thomas Bach and International Skiing Federation President Gian-Franco Kasper present the medals. Norway picked up all the medals in the ladies’ mass start: Marit Bjørgen won gold, Therese Johaug picked up silver, and Kristin Størmer Steira collected bronze. All the medalists in the men’s mass start are Russians: Alexander Legkov received gold, Maxim Vylegzhanin got sliver (his third silver at these Olympic Games), with Ilya Chernousov collecting bronze.
Time to recall the great artists whose fate was connected with Russia. The stage comes alive with the living paintings by Marc Chagall ― villages, horses, houses turned upside down ― all to the divine music by Alfred Schnittke.
Famous Russian pianist Denis Matsuev plays Rachmaninoff’s No. 2 Concerto. An incredible maelstrom of 62 grand pianos circles around the pianists and children who have gathered to listen to him play!
And now, it is ballet time! As many as 48 ensemble dancers and two key dancers — Anna Pavlova (performed by Ksenia Zhiganshina) with her teacher Enrico Cechetti (Maxim Zyuzin). They are gradually joined by other characters from Russian Ballet shows: the Golden Slave (Denis Rodkin), Zobeide (Alisa Sodoleva), Rosa (Anton Korsakov) and the Dying Swan (Maria Semenyachenko).
Another point of pride for Russia is our great literature, with the great Russian authors and poets. Writing desks appear on stage, with the glory of Russian literature – Lev Tolstoy, Alexander Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoevsky – behind them… We hear the famous quotes from silver-age Russian poets Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Vladimir Mayakovsky…
A sudden change of setting ― we see a circus caravan, with a group of clowns setting up the circus tent, and performers starting to present their artistry in six arenas. All-in-all, more than 400 circus performers are engaged in this scene.
The Olympic Flag is formally passed down to the host city of the next Winter Olympic Games – Pyeongchang, South Korea, which will host the Games in 2018 (note that Russian citizens do not need a visa to travel to South Korea). Koreans begin their presentation ― everything is beautiful, stylish, and steeped in state-of-the-art technology! Ariran – the unofficial South Korean anthem – sounds, cranes are seen flying across the stage, pine trees are rocking in the wind, and then kids start putting up a snowman, the mascot of the upcoming Olympic Games – 2018
Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, gives a farewell address to Olympic guests and participants:
“Russia has fulfilled its promise. Our Games have been incredibly hot and very wintry. A big thanks to the athletes, fans, organizers, security, and volunteers!”
IOC President Thomas Bach declares the XXII Winter Olympic Games closed and calls on all athletes to get together again in four years to decide who is the best of the best.
The Closing Ceremony is coming to its end. The Sochi Olympic mascots come on stage ― the Doe Hare, the Bear, and the Leopard, moving to the sounds of Eduard Artemyev’s music from the soundtrack to At Home Among Strangers. We see the legendary footage of the Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics closing ceremony. And then, the Bear, after shedding a tear (in another nod to Moscow 1980), blows out the Olympic Flame. The Flame goes out in the Cauldron.
In one of the most beautiful scenes from the ceremony, 3,000 kids come into the arena, holding golden mimosa flowers – the symbol of the coming spring. A sci-fi airship is aloft, carrying opera singer Khibla Gerzamova. Together with a children’s choir, she performs a song of incredible beauty ― a farewell to the Olympic Games. Everything ends with long, colorful fireworks!
Good-bye, Olympics! Good-bye, Sochi! It has been incredible and unforgettable.