If the Opening Ceremony were a compelling, visual masterpiece showing off China's history, the Closing Ceremony was a mishmash of Olympic traditions and Chinese randomness. It started off well enough, with drummers who had wowed us during the Opening Ceremony. They were joined with girls covered in jingle bells, as giant drums descended from the sky. Giant neon bicycles soon followed, then weird hot air balloons turned on their sides, and people on urban rebounders, and well, I kind of got lost after that. The athletes showing up brought some sense to it all, and per Olympic tradition, they just streamed in from all directions. The athletes were having a fantastic time. Many showed off medals, took pictures with others and enjoyed the final moments with each other at the Olympics.
The Olympic traditions continued as the men's marathoners were given their gold, Jacques Rogge's address, and the raising of the British flag. During the hand over to London, Leona Lewis and Jimmy Page teamed up to perform "Whole Lotta Love." Yes, it was as random as it sounds. David Beckham, looking incredibly uncomfortable, then came out and kicked a soccer ball into the crowd. After London finished their presentation, China let loose. Literally.
They climbed an elaborate tower to extinguish the flame, and then China put on a "We Are the World"-type production. Everyone sang, including Jackie Chan. The whole evening was ended with a duet between Placido Domingo and Chinese singer Song Zuying.
I don't think that this was a bad production, but in comparison to the Opening Ceremony, it just didn't measure up. The symbolism and connection between the different elements of the Opening Ceremony made sense, but that was not the case in the Closing Ceremony. It seemed disjointed and just a little weird.
The Olympics are officially over now -- in real time and NBC time. We are going to continue for a few more days here at Fourth-Place Medal, so keep checking with us as we review the Beijing Olympics and look ahead to future games.
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