The Beijing Winter Olympics ended Feb. 20 with an uplifting closing ceremony at Beijing’s National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest.
The Games will be remembered for its sporting drama and milestones, but also for a Russian doping scandal surrounding 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva, and because they took place inside a vast COVID-secure “bubble.”
The Bird’s Nest stadium, which also took center stage when Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Games, was the scene for a celebratory, snowflake-themed closing ceremony attended by President Xi Jinping and a socially distanced crowd seated among red lanterns.
Declaring the Games closed and handing the baton over to 2026 hosts Milano-Cortina, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach hailed an “unforgettable Olympic experience.”
The last gold medal of the 16-day event was won by Finland, which beat the Russian Olympic Committee in the men’s ice hockey final.
Norway topped the medal table with 37 overall medals, including a record 16 golds, while Japan had its best showing at a Winter Games in terms of total medals, reaching the podium 18 times. (AFP-Jiji, The Japan Times)