Beijing passes baton to Milan at Olympics closing ceremony
The 2022 Beijing Olympics officially came to a close on Sunday evening, ending 17 days of athleticism and excitement and passing the baton to Milan 2026.
In another event designed with at-home viewers in mind, the closing ceremony started off with children performing around a big snowflake before shifting to use augmented reality to surround the giant floating snowflake cauldron with red swirls.
As has become traditional, the athletes that remained in Beijing then entered the stadium en masse, freely mingling amongst themselves rather than grouped by country as in the opening ceremony.
Men's speed skating 500-meter silver medalist Cha Min-kyu bore the Korean flag at the closing ceremony, to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."
True to Olympic tradition, the cross country mass start medalists received their medals during the ceremony. Beijing then bid farewell to the Games, handing over the Olympic flag to Milan and Cortina D'Ampezzo where the Olympics will be held in four years time.
The Greek flag was raised as the national anthem, known as the "Hymn to Liberty" was played, to acknowledge the origins of the Olympic Games alongside the Chinese flags.
Then the Italian flag was hoisted as the Italian anthem played in anticipation of the 2026 Milan Cortina Winter Olympic Games.
The Olympic flag was passed from Beijing mayor Chen Jining to International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, who then handed it on to Milan's Giuseppe Sala and Cortina d'Ampezzo's Gianpietro Ghedina.
After a Pas de Deux, a ballet performance by one ballerina and one ballerino, welcoming the upcoming Milan Cortina Games, the closing ceremony ended with words from IOC President Bach.
"Give equal access to vaccines to everyone in the world," Bach said. "I call on the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in Milan Cortina, there to celebrate the 25th Olympic Winter Games."
Now Beijing warms up for the Paralympics that start on March 4. A total number of 32 Korean athletes will compete at the Beijing Paralympic Games.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]