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SOCHI, February 24 (Itar-Tass) - The president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach has declared the 22nd winter Olympics in Sochi closed. He thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for his personal contribution to the extraordinary success of the Winter Olympics. He also addressed words of thanks to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Committee.
“Tonight we can say that Russia delivered all that it had promised,” Bach said, adding that what it took some other countries of the world decades to accomplish in Sochi was achieved over seven years. He said everybody who was looking at Russia impartially was able to see a new image of that country - successful, friendly, patriotic and open to the whole world.
The closing ceremony started just as the opening ceremony, at 20:14 Moscow time - the digits symbolizing the logo of the Olympic Games. In the first part of the show, called the Sky and the Sea a little girl called Lyubov - well familiar to all those who saw the opening ceremony - and her friends sailed on a boat over the Fisht stadium. Down below performers in glittering costumes were gliding on the water surface imitating tiny schools of fish.
All of a sudden they formed five Olympic rings. The fifth ring would not open at first - an ironic hint at the technical glitch that happened during the opening ceremony, when one of the five giant electronic snowflakes failed to unfurl to form an Olympic ring. A large children’s choir and youth orchestra performed the anthem of the Russian Federation. Then the Russian state flag was hoisted. It had been brought to the stadium by gold medallists from the Russian national team. Figure skater Maksim Trankov carried the Russian team’s flag.
Before the second part of the show the awards were conferred upon the skiers who over the past two days of the Olympics contested the medals in marathon races. On Saturday, three Norwegian women athletes Marit Bjorgen, Therese Johaug, Kristin Steira occupied the podium. Then the stadium exploded with an ovation when Russia’s Aleksandr Legkov, Maksim Vylegzhanin and Ilya Chernousov were getting the gold, the silver and the bronze earned in Sunday’s 50-kilometer race.
The second part of the show was devoted entirely to Russian culture. The art of painting was represented by Marc Chagall’ characters, music, by Denis Matsuyev, who performed Rakhmaninov’s piano concerto N. 2, ballet, by actors who impersonated Sergei Dyagilev and Anna Pavlova, and literature, by actors made up as Russian literature classics - Pushkin, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoyevsky, Mayakovsky, Gogol and many others... A grandiose travelling circus performance wound up the performance.
In the final part of the ceremony, after the anthem of Greece - the birthplace of the Olympic Games - and the Olympic anthem were played, the Olympic flag was lowered and the Mayor of Sochi Anatoly Pakhomov handed it over to Thomas Bach, who, in turn passed the flag on to the Mayor of South Korea’s Pyeongchang, which will host the 23rd Winter Olympics in 2018. After that the president of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko and IOC President Thomas Bach addressed the audience at the stadium and the television viewers.
“Good-bye Sochi, Good-bye, Russia.” Bach said in Russian and declared the Olympics closed.
The ceremony culminated with the emergence of the mascots of the games in the centre of the stadium. The Polar Bear, the Doe Hare, and the Leopard gathered in the centre of the stadium in front of the Olympic Flame. The Polar Bear approached the flame and to the nostalgic tune that closed the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow blew out the flame. And a single tear ran down the Bear’s cheek, exactly the way it happened 34 years ago in Moscow.
A magnificent fireworks display illuminated the night-time sky over the seaside resort and the closing ceremony gradually transformed into one large huge discotheque, where everybody who wished to could have a dance with Olympic champions and just anyone who participated in the Games and contributed to their success.