Sochi 2014: Olympic Games End with Russia on Top of the Medals Table

The 2014 Winter Olympics closing ceremony came to an end in Sochi, Russia after two incredible weeks of intense competition and record-breaking achievements.

The ceremony also features the official passing of the torch to 2018’s host, Pyeongchang, South Korea. Photo: Sochi 2014 Winter Games/Flickr

After two weeks of marvelous global sports experience, the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games finally say goodbye with a fantastic farewell closing ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium. The host country had much to celebrate as the Games wrapped. Russia ended as the overall champ, with 33 medals. The U.S. was second with 28.

The farewell ceremony started right after 8 p.m., maintaining the “20:14” theme. The display was a fantastic affair in “art-house style,” with spectators continued to chant “Ro-ssi-ya! Ro-ssi-ya!” — “Russia! Russia!” — before being surrounded by multicolored fireworks and carried through a visually stunning, sometimes surrealistic panorama of Russian history and culture.

After spending $51bn (£31bn) to build a mountain ski resort and a cluster of shimmering sports venues from scratch – not to mention the roads and railways to link them – failure was not an option for the omnipresent Russian president.

The president of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Organizing Committee, Dmitriy Chernyshenko, and Bach took to the arena to address the audience. Chernyshenko stated that the victory of the athletes had inspired people worldwide. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said the Russian hosts had proved their critics wrong.

“These were excellent Games that may lead to the reversal of some criticism of the Russian organisers that preceded the Olympics,” he said.

Bach used his speech at the closing ceremony in the Fisht Stadium to emphasise Olympic values.

“By living together under one roof in the Olympic Village you send a powerful message from Sochi to the world, that of a society of peace, tolerance and respect,” he said. “I appeal to everybody implicated in confrontation, oppression and violence to act on this Olympic message of dialogue and peace.”

The Games had more than 2,800 athletes from 88 countries – both records – and featured 12 new events to attract younger fans and more broadcasters than ever before. However, the Games have also seen six doping cases, five more than at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

The organizers definately have some sense of humor. During the opening minutes of the closing ceremony, performers poked fun at the infamous opening ceremony Olympic ring malfunction. The moment became a touchstone of #sochiproblems, but it seems Russia had the last laugh at the 2014 Olympic Games.

As they did at the opening of the Games, each nation’s athletes paraded in. Despite a devastating loss to Canada, the U.S. women’s hockey team remained in Sochi to take part in the ceremony. Julie Chu, a four-time Olympian who was part of the silver-medal-winning team, was chosen to carry the U.S. flag.

Performers in smart tails and puffy white wigs performed a ballet of grand pianos, pushing 62 of them around the stadium floor while soloist Denis Matsuev played thunderous bars from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No.2.

There was, of course, also ballet, with dancers from the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky, among the world’s oldest ballet companies. The faces of Russian authors through the ages were projected onto enormous screens, and a pile of books transformed into a swirling tornado of loose pages, reports ABC News.

The Sochi 2014 mascots – the Leopard, the Hare, and the Polar Bear – drifted dreamily into the stadium as a maze of mirrors sprang up around them. The Polar Bear put out the Olympic flame with his breath, and the spectacular event ended with an enormous fireworks display.

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