Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony delights the world
Closing Ceremony LIVE
That is now the end of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. We look forward to 2026 when we will have the games in Milano-Cortina in Italy. There were many moments to remember from China, records set and in a games not without controversy, Beijing put on a spectacular finale for us.
Auld Lang Syne is now ringing through the stadium... in Mandarin! How unusual.
Wow! The fireworks spell out One World. The Olympic rings now are written in the sky with fireworks. How impressive! They are really going out with a bang.
No celebration in China would be complete without a spectacular pyrotechnic display, and so too these Olympic games.
As they sing, the Olympic flame that has hovered above the Bird's Nest Stadium is slowly lowered and finally extinguished.
Once again, we hear from the children's chorus singing the theme song, You and Me.
The 2026 Winter Olympics in Milano-Cortina now await us, as the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics have come to an end.
Now Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, now steps to the podium to echo the words of Cai Qi. The workers, the volunteers and the teams are all thanked for their efforts in bringing these games to fruition. The crowd erupts as he finishes up by thanking China in Mandarin.
Now silence as Cai Qi, the Communist Party Secretary of Beijing, steps to the podium to thank the world and the teams for the successful completion of the games in Beijing.
The LED stage floor is really the star of the show! Each performance has been elevated by the fantastic projections. It really is a triumph, especially for China, a country not necessarily known for quality technology.
Now a pas de deux as two dancers now come to the stage and perform a representation of the theme of the upcoming Italian games: Duality, Together
A large globe is now rolled to the center of the stage by two youngsters representing Milano and Cortina, symbolizing the fragility of the world.
The Italian anthem is now played, beautifully, by a violinist Giovanni Andrea Zanont and sung by Malika Ayane. It is perhaps the best that the Italian anthem has ever sounded!
Slowly, and with great decorum, the Olympic flag is lowered. It is brought to the mayor of Beijing and he waves it one last time befor presenting it to the mayor of Milan. The flag has been passed, the Beijing Olympics are now over and the Milan Olympics are in front of us.
A children's choir sing the Olympic anthem, looking adorable in their traditional-themed costume.
And now the mayor of Beijing, Chen Jining, will transfer the Olympic flag to the mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala.
Now we have the the raising of the Greek flag and the playing of the Greek anthem, in homage to the birthplace of the Olympic games, along with the Olympic ethos of peaceful competition.
The performance reminds us however that hope springs eternal.
The music and the symbolic willow motifs are beauty, almost beyond compare. The loss and the pain, both within the sport itself and in the world at large is plain for all to see.
The stage now turns green, indicating a new spring, perhaps in a nod to the Covid pandemic that has blighted the years leading up to these games. We are all hoping for a new spring.
The LED stage is breathtaking! What an amazing technological show
What beautiful lights! Dancers come out and perform a heart-rending number over lighted willow branches. The willow is the traditional chinese symbol of remembering the departed.
And now the lanterns behind the flag podium that earlier I questioned are lit. It all becomes clear! They are the volunteers and the lanterns represent the light that shines on us all.
French biathlete Martin Fourcade now comes out and presents a traditional chinese lantern to student representatives of all the volunteers at the Olympic games.
Team GB’s Andrew Musgrave took to Twitter to vent his frustration at the decision to shorten the race: “It’s a f*****g joke!”
The Norwegian skiers called the conditions in China "nothing special".
The Russian Olympic Committee's Alexander Bolshunov takes the gold as his compatriot Ivan Yakimushkin brings home the silver. Norway's Simen Hegstad Krueger took the bronze in this controversial event.
Now their male counterparts will receive their medals. This is for the Men's 50km. It was reduced from 50km to 28.5km yesterday for the atrocious wind and weather conditions. Not everyone was happy with that move, but organizers feared for the competitors' wellbeing in such adverse conditions.
The presentations start with the Women's 30km Mass Start cross country medal presentation. Finland's Kerttu Niskanen is ecstatic with her bronze! Such emotion!
USA's Jessie Diggins took the silver and Norway's Therese Johaug won her third gold. Well done all!
You really have to hand it to the Chinese organizers, the light show at this closing ceremony is among the best that I have ever seen!
As they finally clear the stage, we get back to the ceremony itself.
A few of the teams appear reluctant to leave the stage. They are enjoying their moment!
The teams have entered in no particular order, unlike the opening ceremony. Now they file from the foor to their respective seats.
The next games will be hosted by Italy, and we will see the handing over of the flag later in the ceremony. They finished 13th in the medal table.
The teams are all out now and the atmosphere is carnival like. As all of the teams gather on different parts of the floor, one of the teams begins to dance. It seems to be catching as the Poles also break out their dancing shoes!
The Chinese team comes out to great applause! Not traditionally known for their winter sports, they have had a great run here this year. New names will be on everyone's radar from now on.
The Swedes are coming out with their medals leading the way. Fifth in the medal table, they have had a wonderful games.
Team USA are coming out now. It really makes an impression to see the size of the teams. Some have a dozen members, others, like the USA, have at least 50!
Netherlands have come out in their traditional orange. What a games they have had! Sixth in the medal table and several speed skating records to boot.
The Ode to Joy is playing throughout the walkout and it is an impressive piece of work. Emotive in all the right places.
The French team and Canadian team come out side by side, virtually arm in arm. The jackets worn by the Canadians are pretty impressive puffer coats!
Russia competed this year under the Olympic flag, owing to their nation's ban from the games.
The Swiss are now filing out, followed by the poles and the Hungarians.
While the medal boards are led by the nations that you would expect, it is sometimes interesting to see teams that you may not expect in a Winter Olympics. Brazil and Australia so far have caught me out!
As the flags file past, the teams themselves follow on, led by Norway. And rightly so!
Here comes Marte Olsbu Roeiseland carrying the flag of Norway, the medal table leaders.
Here come the designated flag bearers. Most are being carried by volunteers from their respective national Olympic teams.
They are not shy about showing off their technology, the Chinese!
The hovering snowflake now becomes a traditional chinese knot. Wonderful use of augmented reality technology here in Beijing.
The children on the stage are now taken away in glowing bobsleds! The pageantry is of a really high caliber!
A large contingent behind the flagpoles are each carrying lanterns as well. Perhaps they are part of the later show? We'll see!
President Xi Jinping is in attendance, as the crowd in the stadium stands for the Chinese national anthem
A giant snowflake hovers above a cute group of Chinese children, all dancing with glowing snowflake lanterns in their hands. What a wonderfully cinematic opening! The stage glows with the Beijing 2022 logo on the floor.
Beijing is lit up beautifully. The Bird's Nest Stadium is a wonder to behold in the night cityscape.
We are just moments away from the start of the ceremony.
Strolz wins surprise gold
Johannes Strolz was a surprise winner in the Alpine combined race on Thursday, as he repeated his father's Olympic achievement.
Hubert Strolz took gold in the same event at Calgary 1988 and his son made it something of a family tradition at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre. Strolz was half a second quicker than anyone else in the slalom and combined with his fourth-best time in the downhill run, it meant he edged out Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde by just over half a second.
Shaun White's Farewell Message
Snowboarding star Shaun White has spoken of his "beautiful journey" after confirming his retirement following the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
White got emotional on Friday as he competed in his final event at the Winter Games, the men's halfpipe, where he agonisingly finished in fourth place. The American is the first and so far only snowboarder to win three gold medals, and had already announced before the Games in China that it would be his last, bringing a much-decorated 22-year career to an end.
Other Notable Firsts or Bests
In the figure skating competition, judgements and points awarded by the ISU are rated as “high score” rather than “records”, and the USA’s Nathan Chen scored 113.97 in the short program of the men's individual event, the highest that has ever been achieved.
Chinese pair Sui Wenjing and Han Cong twice broke team high scores, first with 82.83 points and then in the pairs short program on February 18 they beat their own high with a new recore of 84.41, wowing the enthusiastic home crowd.
France’s four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron showed their greatness, setting the highest score in history with 90.83 points in the rhythm dance program of the ice dance competition.
Japanese snowboarder Kaishu Hirano hit a backside air that topped out at 24 feet and 4 inches above the halfpipe, a new world record.
Dutch speedskater Ireen Wüst has won an individual gold medal now at five different Olympics, the first athlete in history to do so. At 35 years, she also has become the oldest speedskater to win gold at the Olympics.
The home crowd had more to cheer for, when Team China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong scored 82.83 in the short program, a world record for pairs skating.
Johan Clarey of France won the silver medal in the men's downhill alpine skiing, making him, at 41 years and 30 days old, the oldest Olympic medalist in alpine skiing.
The Records that Fell
Beijing 2022 has seen the history books completely rewritten. Here is every Olympic record set at Beijing 2022.
Ireen Wust, Netherlands, speed skating women's 1,500m: 1:53.28
Irene Schouten, Netherlands, speed skating women's 3,000m, 3:56.93
Irene Schouten, Netherlands, speed skating women's 5,000m: 6:43.51
Canada, speed skating women's team pursuit: 2:53.44
Gao Tingyu, People's Republic of China, speed skating men's 500m: 34.32
Kjeld Nuis, Netherlands, speed skating men's 1,500m: 1:43.21
Nils van der Poel, Sweden, speed skating men's 10,000m: 12:30.74
Nils van der Poel, Sweden, speed skating men's 5,000m: 6:08.84
ROC, men's speed skating team pursuit: 3:36.62
Takagi Miho, Japan, women's speed skating 1000m: 1:13.19
Suzanne Schulting, Netherlands, women's 500m: 42.379
Suzanne Schulting, Netherlands, women's 1,000m: 1:26.514
Daeheon Hwang, Republic of Korea, men's 1,000m: 1:23.042
Liu Shaolin Sandor, Hungary, men's 1,500m: 2:09.213
Netherlands, mixed team relay, 2:36.437
Netherlands, women's 3,000m relay: 4:03.409
Choi Minjeong, Republic of Korea, women's 1500m: 2:16.831
Hello and Welcome!
My, my, what a time we have had in Beijing! From the retirement of a snowboarding legend in Shaun White to the setting of world records galore, we have been treated with a wonderful Olympic fortnight.
Here at AS USA, we have brought you daily live coverage throughout and we thank you for joining us. We continue today with live coverage of the ceremony, beginning at 6:30 a.m. ET in the U.S., which is 13 hours behind China.