The Winter Olympic Games in the Chinese capital have been completed. The Olympic flame was extinguished on Sunday evening. These Games will be remembered for extremely tough measures to combat COVID-19 and the doping scandal associated with 15-year-old figure skater from Russia Kamila Valieva.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the closing ceremony of the Games. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach called the Beijing Games “truly exceptional” before declaring them closed.
The XXIV Winter Games became the second Olympic Games in six months, which, due to COVID-19, lost most of their celebration for the audience. This sporting event was also marked by the special attention of political figures: several countries staged a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics because of human rights violations in China. The Games were also overshadowed by the shadow of Russia’s expected invasion of Ukraine: Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the opening ceremony of the Olympics in solidarity with China in the fight against the West.
However, China has not faced strong protests from critics of the treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority or the human rights situation in general. Thousands of foreign journalists did not have the opportunity to cover the events taking place in this country more widely.
Sunday’s ceremony ended with a 90-second fireworks display that read “One World, one Family.” This was followed by a performance of the song “Auld Lang Syne” based on poems by the Scottish poet Robert Burns.
During the ceremony, Thomas Bach praised the organizers of the Beijing Games and called for unity, as well as universal access to vaccines against COVID-19.
“You have accepted each other, even if your countries are divided by conflict,” he said. – The unifying force of the Olympic Games is stronger than the forces that want to divide us. You are giving peace a chance.”