The curtain comes down on the Sochi Winter Olympics Sunday evening with the closing ceremony, which should appropriately cap off an exciting run of action.
The buzz in the buildup to the event centers on the main performers, and with Sochi 2014 creative director Konstantin Ernst promising a “fresh look” at Russian culture, it is set to make an intriguing spectacle, per Olympic.org.
Michael Shann is the producer for the Olympic closing ceremony and has spoken of the freedom he and his team were given in putting the showpiece together, per Rachel Blount of the Star Tribune.
“The creative team had a lot of freedom, and they would come to the technical and production teams and assume everything could be realised," he explained. "It was great fun to be around a planning table with French speakers, Italian speakers, German speakers and Russian speakers, all trying to speak English!”
The official Twitter account for the Sochi Games is also gearing up for the event. This video was posted early on Sunday, featuring two members of the Jamaican bobsled team who invite you to sample the closing ceremony with them:
In what’s been dubbed “Sensational Sunny Sunday” by the same account, the Russian hosts will have plenty to celebrate, including the end of a wonderful Games.
Not only have they topped the medals table in the gold medal and overall standings, but they also managed to pick up another four medals on the final day of the Games. That included a clean sweep in the men’s 50-kilometre cross-country skiing and gold in the men’s four-man bobsled.
The respective flag bearers for each of the nations have started to be announced, too.
For the American team, 31-year-old women's ice hockey star Julie Chu will carry the Stars and Stripes into the Fisht Stadium after what looks set to be her last Olympics. The four-time Olympic medalist's legacy will be deservedly honoured despite a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Canada in the gold-medal game.
For Great Britain, Elizabeth Yarnold will carry the Union flag and lead the team into the closing ceremony after her emphatic victory in the women’s skeleton events. That will complete what has been an amazing Games for her, and she was obviously delighted by the news:
As the #Soch2014 GB athletes finish competing I am proud and very happy to announce that I'll be representing the team as flag bearer! Yay!— Lizzy Yarnold (@TheYarnold) February 23, 2014
Aside from those teams, Finland’s men's ice hockey star Teemu Selanne has been chosen to carry the flag for his nation. But reports suggest that in a cruel twist of fate, the man dubbed the “Finnish Flash” might not be able to fulfill this huge honour:
Teemu Selanne was named Finnish flag-bearer but won't be able to perform those duties. His plane leaves before the closing ceremony.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 23, 2014
According to Olympic.org, spectators will be guided through the ceremony by “Lubov," a young girl who was at the centre of the opening ceremony. She will look back in time at various facets of Russian culture including music, art and literature.
Viewers will also be treated to performances from soprano Hibla Gerzmava, pianist Denis Matsuev and string artists Tatiana Samouil and Yuri Bashmet.
Expect all of the usual Olympic traditions to be observed too, with the iconic Games flag to be handed from the Sochi’s mayor Anatoly Pakhomov to Governor Moon-soon Choi and other representatives of Pyeongchang, South Korea, which will host the Games in 2018.
Tonight, the closing ceremony of Sochi 2014 begins at 8:00 PM. The Olympic flag will be handed over to PyeongChang. pic.twitter.com/NTluVwzFcs— PyeongChang 2018 (@2018PyeongChang) February 23, 2014
The next hosts are also set to put on a short show of their own, giving us an insight into what we can expect in four years and a brief glimpse into the Korea Republic’s culture and history.
We’ll see the hoisting of the flag from every competing nation at the Games and a parade of all the athletes who have helped make these Olympics such an enjoyable spectacle.