The Beijing Winter Olympics drew to a close on February 20, 2022, rounding off the Games that will go down in history as much for their coronavirus restrictions and geopolitical tensions, as their nail-biting competitions and emotional moments.
The closing ceremony at Beijing’s well known Bird’s Nest arena, opened with kids moving holding snowflake-formed lamps, and finished with singing and the stifling of the Olympic fire.
Snowflake lights then, at that point, drifted up out of the arena and firecrackers illuminated the night sky spelling the message: “One World, One Family.” Inside, people celebrated on the stadium floor as the song “Auld Lang Syne” played.
The closing ceremony, similar to the initial one, was an improved one compared with the 2008 summer games, underscoring youngsters, Chinese tradition and ordinary individuals.
Prior in the ceremony, flag bearers representing the nations that partook, entered the stadium followed by cheerful athletes many gripping their telephones to catch the occasion. A little yet excited horde of invited visitors watched on after organizers announced they wouldn’t sell tickets to the overall population.
In the wake of becoming the first city in the world to have both the mid year and the colder time of year contests, Beijing passed the baton to Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy, which will host the 2026 Winter Games.
The Chinese capital had the strictest Covid limitations, but for the Games that were set apart by a U.S.- led discretionary blacklist over China’s human rights record, the Russia-Ukraine pressures.
The ceremony was directed by the renowned Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, who also designed the opening ceremony, as well as the opulent opening and closing ceremonies for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
In a speech to conclude the Games, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach praised athletes for their sportsmanship.
“You not only respected each other, you supported each other, you embraced each other, even if your countries are divided by conflict,” he said. “May the political leaders around the world be inspired by your example of solidarity and peace.”
Sunday’s ceremony capped two weeks of drama even as Olympic heroes were born and the record books rewritten.
Meanwhile, United States’ Erin Jackson became the first Black woman to win Team USA a gold medal in speedskating. The win came after she stumbled during Olympic trials, and her friend and fellow skater Brittany Bowe offered Jackson her spot in Beijing.
In the opening ceremony, Chinese officials delivered a defiant message to the world leaders boycotting the Games by choosing a Uyghur cross-country skier from Xinjiang to deliver the ceremonial flame, a moment which often carries symbolic weight.
Norway, a country whose population is little more than 5 million, led the medal count, as it often does. Russia was second, followed by Germany, Canada and the United States. China won 15 medals, compared to nine in Pyeongchang in 2018.