The longest segment was the march of the athletes with their flags while Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ode to Joy was played. With most ice hockey teams already having arrived home, there were not many hockey players left opposed to the many flag bearers at the opening ceremony but Peter Cehlarik of men’s ice hockey bronze medallist Slovakia was on the field to carry his country’s flag.
The many volunteers were the always helpful women and men whose smiles could be felt through the protective masks and who helped make the ice hockey tournaments all the other events at the Olympics happen. Many of them joined the ceremony spreading youthful joy from their sectors of the stadium.
Speeches by the President of the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Cai Qi, and IOC President Thomas Bach brought the ceremony to a close underlining the spirit of sports to overcome division between countries and give peace a chance. A message that will hopefully not be unheard. The flag bearers convened at centre stage and fireworks followed depicting the Olympic rings and “One World, One Family” in both Chinese and English. At 21:31 local time the Olympics were declared closed and soon later the flame was extinguished.
It was the end of the 24th edition – a very special edition due to the Covid-19 pandemic that the organizers had to master with playbooks of measures to stage the Olympics in a safe way. Despite living segregated from the population in a “closed loop” it didn’t lack anything for the athletes to perform a great show including two wonderful ice hockey tournaments with Canada and Finland as well-deserved gold medal winners.
It's time to say thank you and goodbye. Xiexie & zaijian Beijing! Ciao Milano! See you at the next Olympics in 2026.