The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics: Closing Ceremony
A triumphant finish
The Sochi Winter Games played host to a triumphant closing ceremony on the shores of the Black Sea last night, after Russia spent a reported $51billion on the fortnight long event. The night featured ballet from the Bolshoi, music by Rachmaninov and tributes to Tolstoy and Kandinsky plus the usual Olympic protocol – the atmosphere was one of pure celebration swathed in the colours of the Russian flag.
Thomas Bach and Vladimir Putin
International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, declared the most expensive Games in history "a really special experience". He also personally thanked President Putin for his contribution to the "extraordinary success of these Winter Games".
An early part of the ceremony featured a knowing nod to the much publicised failed snowflake of the opening ceremony, with a shimmering shoal of dancers making up four of the five rings, before lastly – and more slowly – forming the fifth.
As the opening ceremony served as a display of Russian art and culture, however last night's marching bands and children's choir of over 1,000 singing the national anthem proved to be more of a patriotic and traditional show of strength.
"The success of the home team is always an important part of the success of the Games overall. This we saw just two years ago with Team GB in London," said Bach later, and with Russia finishing 11th on the table, it can surely be deemed a success.
As three giant animatronic mascots and a cast of hundreds of children extinguished the Olympic flame, amid the traditional fireworks Russian deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, summarised the event, "The friendly faces, the warm Sochi sun and the glare of the Olympic gold have broken the ice of scepticism towards the new Russia, The Games have turned our country, its culture and the people into something that is a lot closer and more appealing and understandable for the rest of the world."