2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony
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The 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony was held at the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest. It was directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou and began at 20:00 China Standard Time (UTC+8) on 24 August 2008. The number 8 is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture.
- The musical acts included
- Plácido Domingo and Song Zuying singing The Flame of Love (lyrics by writers Song Xiaoming and Yuan Yuan)
- Wei Wei and Sun Nan singing Beijing Beijing (wo ai Beijing).
- Leona Lewis, Jimmy Page (with David Beckham making an appearance), Elspeth Hanson as the violinist and Kwesi Edman as the cellist.
- Andy Lau, Emil Chau, Jackie Chan, Karen Mok, Kelly Chen, Joey Yung and Nicolas Tse.
- Wang Lee Hom, Stefanie Sun and Rain.
- Han Hong
- Klaus Badelt wrote the music for the closing ceremonies.
The Ceremony also included the handover of the games from Beijing to London. Guo Jinlong, the Mayor of Beijing, handed over the Olympic flag to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. There was also a performance organized by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG).
While the opening ceremony was described as an artistic and serious introduction of China's ancient past, the closing ceremony was described by Western media as "much more lighthearted", "silly" and "fun" than the opening ceremony.
By the end of the 16 days of NBC's coverage of the Beijing Olympics in the United States, it had also become the most-watched U.S. television event of all time, with over 211 million American viewers tuned into the Olympics on NBC according to the Nielsen Media Research; this is 2 million more than the 1996 Atlanta Games, the previous all-time record-holder.
Sequence of events
- Fireworks prelude, including a firework countdown above the National Stadium itself at 20:00 CST.
- Introduction of IOC members and Hu Jintao.
- The flag of the People's Republic of China was raised, to the Chinese national anthem, March of the Volunteers.
- Mass games performance by a troupe of drummers.
- Orange sparkling fireworks.
- Performers in translucent costumes, bocking stilts and some riding on illuminated monowheels.
The countdown started from "29", indicating the 29th Summer Olympics. From "29" to "11", highlights of this Olympic Games were shown with countdown numbers on the screen. Accompanied by sound effects, the atmosphere reached its climax countdown to number digital millennium terminator. Guided by volunteers, the entire audience counted down from 10, together. Both Arabic numerals appeared on the screen with typical patterns of minority ethnic groups as the background letter as "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1" voice over "Shi, Jiu, Ba, Qi, Liu, Wu, Si, San, Er, Yi" to the Games.The fireworks burst immediately when the countdown ended, forming a great circle in the sky which symbolized the success of the Beijing Olympic Games.
Hu Jintao entered the stadium, accompanied by Jacques Rogge. They were followed by the entrance of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife, Sarah. The People's Liberation Army prepared the national flag of China. The soldiers then carried the flag, in a slow, goose-stepping march, to the flag podium and the Chinese national anthem, March of the Volunteers, was sung by a 224-member choir while the flag was raised.
All lights were extinguished in the stadium. A video was played on the large screen in the north and south to explain the theme of the Closing Ceremony. The video reviewed the exciting and memorable moments during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. A grand celebration began:
- Two hundred performers in drum formation lined up, in a circle, on the steps of the Main Stage. They danced and beat drums while looking up at the sky. Two large heavenly drums flew from the north and south, and the resonant sound of the drum seemed to come from far away.
- The performers beat the heavenly drums in a unique style in magical light. The two heavenly drums met at the center above the stadium, slowly falling down to the Main Stage and were suspended about 5 meters above the stage. The heavenly drum and the drum on the ground complemented each other.
- Summoned by the drumbeat, 1,148 silver bell dancers wearing silver bells gathered around the Main Stage, and sang and danced for the heavenly drums. A grand celebration was about to begin.
Next, silver bell performers danced in time to the beat of the heavenly drums on the Main Stage to greet the guests.
- Eight drum carts in different shapes entered the stadium, carrying performers who beat drums in unique ways. The sound of the song was mingled with the drumbeat; passionate and dynamic.
- Eight rotating poles swung and crossed.
- With 60 light wheels shuttling, 200 bouncing and flying men ran and did somersaults.
- The silver bell dancers changed into radiating wave lines coming through, and formed four festive passages with the eight drum carts to great the guests.
Attending heads of state and dignitaries
The closing ceremony was attended by many heads of state and dignitaries including Hu Jintao, Gordon Brown, Princess Anne, Matti Vanhanen, Carl XVI Gustaf, Albert II, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu, George Walker Bush, David Paterson, Michael Bloomberg, Scott Stringer, Kevin Rudd, Elizabeth II, Sellapan Ramanathan, B. J. Habibie, Muhammad Jusuf Kalla, Prabowo Subianto, Donald Tsang, Edmund Ho, Sandra Angelia, Zivanna Letisha Siregar, Tara Conner, Rachel Smith, Amelia Vega, Jennifer Hawkins and Natalie Glebova.
Entrance of the flag bearers
- Flag bearers enter the stadium.
- Athletes enter the stadium.
- Athletes gather in the stadium, with drumming throughout the precession.
Led by guides and placard holders, the flag bearers of all delegations entered the stadium, divided into two groups. One group (1-102), headed by Greece as per tradition, entered from Gate 4 in alphabetical order and stood along the main stage. The other group (103-204), headed by Saudi Arabia, entered from Gate 3 and also stood along the main stage. The Chinese Flag bearer entered last and stood at the designated place. Greece entering first and China entering last symbolizing the first and the most recent Summer Olympics host nations.
After all flags were in position, the athletes entered the stadium in no particular order. All athletes entered from four gates without differentiation of nationality. While the athletes were entering, a women's percussion band and two children percussion players played cheerful music. The entire stadium was in raptures.
Finally, the medal-winning athletes entered the stadium.
- Presentation of the final men's marathon medals; including the national anthem of Kenya: Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu, for the gold medallist Samuel Wanjiru.
- Presentation of flowers to twelve volunteers by newly elected athlete representatives to the IOC Athlete Commission.
At this point, Samuel Wanjiru received his gold medal. He was very excited as he climbed to the first position. Three flags, including the flag of Kenya, were raised as the national anthem of Kenya was played.
Afterwards, twelve children led twelve representatives of volunteers to walk from Gate 2 to the stage. Then, four children led four new members of IOC Athletes' commission to walk together with four persons for the ceremony from Gate 1 to the Main Stage.
Speeches and lowering the Olympic flag
- Raising of the Greek national flag, to the national anthem of Greece as "Hymn to Liberty".
- Welcoming of Liu Qi, the President of the BOCOG, and Jacques Rogge, the IOC President.
- Speech by Liu Qi in Mandarin Chinese, concluding by thanking everyone.
- Speech by the IOC President, Jacques Rogge, in English, French and concluding in Mandarin, declaring the Beijing Games "truly exceptional". He closes the Games, and bids (in French) for "the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in London".
- The flag of the United Kingdom was raised to the British national anthem God Save the Queen.
- Lowering of the Olympic flag and singing of the Olympic Anthem which the Chinese and foreign singers sung in Greek.
- Fireworks representing the Olympic rings.
- Returning of the Olympic flag by Guo Jinlong, the Mayor of Beijing, to Jacques Rogge, in turn presenting it to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London.
Rogge and Liu Qi walked to the main stage from the VIP corridor. During his speech, Rogge praised the Chinese for their warm reception and effort. He also stated that the Beijing Games were "truly exceptional". Finally, he declared that the 2008 Olympic Games were officially closed.
Eight British Army personnel then entered the stadium, carrying the Union Flag. They passed the flag to soldiers of the People's Liberation Army. The flag was raised and the British national anthem God Save The Queen was played. Shortly thereafter, the soldiers slowly lowered the Olympic flag and the Chinese and foreign youth singers sung the Olympic Anthem in Greek. As the soldiers exited, the fireworks erupted again, representing the Olympic rings. The Olympic flag was next raised again at the next Winter Olympic games in Vancouver; opening ceremony took place there on 12 February 2010.
Presentation of the 2012 Summer Olympics
- Eight minutes of presentation of the 2012 London Olympics.
- A British modern cultural performance, involving a double-decker bus, bicycles and commuters, to a score entitled 'This is London' by Philip Sheppard recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra.
- Ten-year-old Tayyiba Dudhwala steps out of the double decker bus in front of the crowd and receives a ball from Erika Tham, then walks onto people to return to the bus.
- Leona Lewis and Jimmy Page perform "Whole Lotta Love".
- Appearance by David Beckham. Beckham kicked a ceremonial football into the rows of volunteers.
- Procession of performers on an airport terminal staircase, with events during the 2008 Olympics on-screen.
- The Olympic Flame was then extinguished, following a recitation of the 16 days of Olympic competition and of the Ancient Greek competition.
A demonstration entitled "From London, 'With a whole Lotta love." was then staged by the British. It featured the urban dance group ZooNation, the Royal Ballet and Candoco, a disabled dance group, all dressed as typical London commuters waiting for a bus by a zebra crossing, whilst Olympic Champions Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Jamie Staff cycled around the stadium. A double-decker bus drove around the stadium to the music 'This is London' composed by Philip Sheppard and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, before eventually stopping and transforming into a privet hedge featuring famous London landmarks such as Tower Bridge, The Gherkin and the London Eye. Jimmy Page and Leona Lewis then performed the Led Zeppelin classic Whole Lotta Love and David Beckham kicked a football into the crowd of athletes accompanied by violinist Elspeth Hanson and cellist Kwesi Edman. Page recalled:
"Doing the Olympics with Leona Lewis was phenomenal. She's really plucky, she's superb, and she sang 'Whole Lotta Love' brilliantly. We managed to do the full-length of 'Whole Lotta Love' – it wasn't edited – and she sang it beautifully. It was so cool, the way she approached it. For that audience, and the fact we didn't fuck it up… 'We're really going to do this and we're going to do it proud.' That was important. It was a Led Zeppelin number but it took on another persona. I was proud to be able to play that riff for the handover."
An airport electronic flight screen appeared on the large screen of the Stadium. An athlete about to leave walks up the boarding ladder and turns around affectionately. In special-effect lighting, the boarding ladder truck with the logo of Beijing Olympic Games is slowly elevated. He slowly takes out an exquisite painting scroll and unfolds it. In the dark, a huge mechanic device — the "memory tower" at the center of the field — rises slowly, with two "sports sculpture" performers standing on top of it and showing various athletic gestures.
The rim of the bowl changed into a red track. Special lights cast scenes of the 16 days from the lighting of the holy flame to now onto the track in the air. At the center of the field, two "sports sculpture" performers rise gradually and show different athletic gestures slowly in the air, conveying the noble Olympic spirit. The athlete on the boarding ladder looks at the burning flame in the distance, and slowly folds the painting scroll, just as the flame was about to be extinguished. A huge "holy flame" is lighted at the center of the field (396 "memory tower" performers simulate the flame with their bodies) as the Olympic flame took its final breath.
- Performers on a tall pillar (called the memory tower), waving arms and symbolizing the Olympic flame, eternally not extinguished. Performers group to form Chrysanthemums, with hurdle runners on top of the pillar. Performers then re-climb the pillar, which is then covered in huge red streamers. Roses are formed along with athletes below (with pillar as a stigma), the athlete crowds as petals. Red streamers are levitated upward and reveal the performers arranged in the form of Dancing Beijing, the 2008 Olympic logo.
- Song "Beijing Beijing, I Love Beijing" (Běijīng Běijīng, Wǒ Ài Běijīng) by Chinese singer Tan Jing, Hong Kong singer Kelly Chen, Han Xue, Taiwanese-American singer Wang Lee Hom and Korean singer Rain. Erhu instrumental; acrobats leap from the tower by wire.
- Song The Moon is Bright Tonight.
- Song The Flame of Love.
- Song Surpass It
- Song Please stay, Guests from afar with firework displays.
The torch lights in the hands of the marshals and the 90,000 audience members were turned on at the same time. In the passionate far-reaching music, 16 lucky cloud yarn strips slowly rose along the "memory tower" on the main stage. The top ends of the lucky cloud yarn strips extended towards the sky and changed into a lucky cloud tree symbolizing friendship and joy.
Next, seven singers walked from below the steps to the Main Stage and sang "The Moon is Bright Tonight". Two Chinese and foreign singers on the mobile singing performance car went from Gate 1 to the front of the VIP corridor, and sang "The Flame of Love". Two singers on the main stage sang the joyous and passionate song "Surpass It".
At this point, there were 50 young singers together. At the same time, 75 aerobatic performers wearing luminous flight clothes performed elevation and rotation in the air.
During the final song "Please stay,Guests from afar", 50-male dancers holding Fuwa lucky cloud yarn strips and paper flower launchers and 120-other dancers danced on the Main Stage in tune with the rhythm of the song. Also, 600-female performers in festival clothes entered the stadium, flew around the athletes and danced with all athletes in the stadium and 1,046-marshals in tune with the rhythm of the song, forming a spectacular dance circle.
Finally, 600 female performers in festive clothes, 112 performers of minority ethnic groups, 50 male dancers, 70 collectors of launched red silk and 200 "memory tower" performers threw the Fuwa lucky cloud yarn strips into the stadium, interacting with the athletes to landmark building and icon such as Kuala Lumpur Tower, New York City Empire State Building, Tokyo Tower, London Big Ben, Jakarta Plaza Indonesia and Jakarta Senayan City to fireworks at closing ceremony "sign-off". At the same time, innumerable dazzling fireworks were launched from the top of the "bowl rim". Then, numerous festival fireworks formed a huge circle of fireworks, symbolizing the successful back to home at closedown of 2008 Summer Olympics. The closing ceremony ended at 21:55 CST
Estimates of the global television audience varied: "around one billion" (Reuters), "experts estimated ... more than two billion" (Wall Street Journal), "2.3 billion" (MindShare), "Billions...probably the largest live television audience in history" (Bloomberg), "3 billion" (Sky News), "nearly 4 billion" (Xinhua, "as many as 4 billion" (The Washington Post), "estimated 4 billion" (McClatchy). This included an estimated 842 million viewers watching on host Chinese broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), with polls ranging from 63 and 69 percent of the Chinese viewing population, exceeding that of the 51-58 percent who watch the network's annual closing ceremonies forms.
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- Bonner, Michael (January 2015). "An Audience with Jimmy Page". Uncut: 16.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony.|
- 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing Closing Ceremonies in the Newseum archive of front page images from 2008-08-25.