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Tokyo Olympics end with official hand-off to Paris for 2024 Games

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The closing ceremony for any Olympics is always a more muted affair than the opening ceremony — since the Olympics are over, of course — but Japan put on an optimistic, jaunty show. It began with a show of worldwide unity, with the flag bearers from every country coming together and forming a circle.

Then the athletes came into the stadium, and even the grass they were standing on was symbolic of Japan's hospitality. 

There were also street performers, including jugglers, dancers, and, skateboarders, and an extended performance by the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. 

Unfortunately there's no video of the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra's performance on social media quite yet, so if you didn't catch the ceremony live you'll have to wait until Sunday night to see the white-jacketed ska horn players constantly dancing around on stage. But these pictures should tide you over until then, and give you the general idea of the positively ska-riffic tone. 

One of the highlights was a gorgeous light display, during which thousands of small lights swirled over the athletes' heads and formed into the five Olympic rings. 

The final medals of the Olympics were given out to the winners of the last events of the Olympics, the men's marathon, and for the first time, to the women's marathon as well.

Handing over the Games to Paris

After a performance of traditional Japanese song and dance, the ceremony began looking forward. The next Olympic Games will take place in just three years in Paris. The Olympic flag was officially handed over to the mayor of Paris, and the national anthem of France was played to make the transition official. 

The anthem even ended with a French astronaut who is currently orbiting the Earth playing his saxophone, which was an amazing detail no one could have expected. 

There was even a video of a live Olympic celebration in Paris, the first time that's been included in a closing ceremony. It ended with a flyover of jets spraying the colors of the French flag behind them, and a closeup of the enormous Paris 2024 flag that's flying from the actual Eiffel Tower. If that's any indication, the Paris games will be a banger. 

Then the cauldron, which was lit by Naomi Osaka over two weeks ago, was finally extinguished, and the Games came to an end. 

If you're already going through Olympics withdrawal, you won't be for long. The 2022 Winter Games in Beijing aren't that far away. They kick off on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in just 180 days.

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