Just a little over two weeks ago we watched the Olympic flame make its way to PyeongChang, South Korea and last night, it was extinguished in the closing ceremony. I always forget that the Olympics are endurance television–NBC’s nightly Prime Time coverage was generally four hours long, and unlike the summer sports that have running, swimming, volleyball, etc. it’s hard to visually see the difference between a lot of the ski/snowboard events. The US brought back 23 medals (coming in forth behind Canada, Germany, and winter sports powerhouse Norway) but even with all that ice skating and amazing performances across the sports, these were the lowest rated Olympics ever. I don’t know what that means for the future of Olympics airing, but before we close the book on PyeongChang 2018 let’s see how the celebration unfolded.
We begin with paint splattered rollerbladers doing synchronized dancing to circus music. It was very energetic but really dizzying to watch.
The flag was brought in by a group of elementary children wearing ponchos and white tiger hats. It was adorable and now I need this hat. And matching ones for my cats.
Awesome musical interlude by thirteen year-old Yang Tae-Hwan accompanied by lit-up dancers, traditional stringed musical instruments, a heavy metal band, and a floating pagoda made of lights. Rock on.
Time for the athletes to march in! Let’s see what Ralph Lauren has cooked up for the closing ceremony. The ice dancing Shibutani siblings or “Shib Sibs” are seen here modeling a very restrained look–no crazy fringed gloves! I hope you didn’t want to replicate the whole outfit because almost all of it is sold out online except for the $1000 boots, $500 sweater, and $135 mittens. Oh Ralph.
Our athletes voted, and the closing flag bearer was Jessie Diggins who was half of the first pair of women to ever win gold in team cross-country skiing. Look at that finish! She literally collapsed at the finish line it was amazing to see her race. Well picked athletes.
I like that in the Closing Ceremony the athletes can march into the stadium in any order they want, they’re not separated by country. You still end up with clumps of them from the same countries all together but it sends a nice message. Just like in the Opening Ceremony we got a drone light display except this time it formed the white tiger Sooharang before morphing into a heart. All together now: awwwww.
Now for my favorite part: people wearing masks and carrying giant dandelions followed by a giant turtle made of light panels. This was the in memoriam section and apparently in S. Korean culture turtles carry messages between people and the gods. This turtle disassembled itself and a video of it swimming into the clouds ended the section.
Next came a section called “The Axis of New Time” and not even Tara and Johnny could tell me what it was about. Dancers came out in black and white and there was clock imagery, and then something about order and chaos, and some more dizzying graphics. It was very impressive but even after reading other reviews I still don’t understand what was happening.
Goodbye trippy dancers, hello K-Pop sensation CL! She sang two songs in a major fringed glove (probably inspired by Team USA’s Ralph Lauren ones), corset, and black dress. Her dancers all had day-glow hair and it was just fun.
Time for China to take the reins! The mayor of PyeongChang handed the Olympic flag over to the mayor of Beijing, and they gave us a peek at coming attractions: more rollerblading lit-up people, pandas on skates, video messages welcoming the world to Beijing, and finally a sort of multicolored dragon. It had a late 80s early 90s graphics feel which was an interesting artistic choice.
The President of the International Olympics Committee declares the games closed! Is it over? Nope, we’ve got K-Pop super group EXO roaring into the stadium on ATVs. They performed two songs and the audience was pumped but the Internet thought they were dressed like Colonel Sanders. Oh Internet.
Hey it’s the five kids from the Opening Ceremony! They’re back but this time they’re wearing light-up coats and carrying orbs. They also had a bunch of white tigers with them and a gigantic snow globe. Then more people showed up with orbs and formed a giant snowflake on the arena stage that “extinguished” the flame.
Party time! DJ Martin Garrix had all the athletes dancing around the giant snow globe (I think I read somewhere that Lindsey Vonn was leading a conga line) and everyone looked to be loosing their minds with joy. Round of applause for a job well done Olympics.
But wait, how did our special commentators do? Who cares! Tara and Johnny went with a yin-yang black/white theme and halfway through the show Johnny declared his love for pandas while Tara was disappointed the drones didn’t morph into the shape of a figure skater. So, about how we expected. Terry, you did yeoman’s work keeping these two on track. Now after all this excitement, who needs a nap? *Me