With one forceful exhale, a giant, weeping bear extinguished the torch of the Sochi Games. With that, the 2014 Winter Olympics were brought to a end during an entertaining closing ceremony.
There were also a few events to be wrapped up on Sunday. This video will bring you up to speed:
The Sochi Games were not impeccable, but they were spectacular. Competition was marred by the nuisance of relatively tropical temperatures. Although a few complaints about venues were brought up by various snowboarders, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, as USA Today's Nancy Armour reports, "heard no complaints."
In all, Russia has to be content with their effort to bring Sochi back to the resort location it was during the Soviet era and the statement these Olympics made about the country as a whole.
Dmitry Kozak, Russia's deputy prime minister, spoke to that fact in this quote captured by the Associated Press (via KomoNews.com):
Smiley faces, Sochi's warm sunshine and the glow of the Olympic gold have melted the ice of skepticism about the new Russia. The Games made our country, our culture, our people closer and easier to understand for the whole world.
All of this is great news for Russia. After all, this country just shelled out for history's costliest Olympics.
With all of this, it should be no surprise that the closing ceremony was a great show.
The pageantry and extravagance did not match the effort of the opening ceremony, but that is the norm. This is not to say that it wasn't grandiose.
Nataliya Vasilyeva of the Associated Press presented a nice visual of the opening:
That quickly gave way to a more wondrous image captured by Alan Abrahamson of 3WireSports.com:
As there should be, there was a nice emphasis on the athletes to start the ceremony.
The Olympics Twitter account went as far as to tweet:
Still, the ceremony didn't shy away from focusing on the host nation. Where the opening ceremony gave a rundown of Russian history in a monstrous performance, more effort was paid to the artistic side of the grand nation.
The Olympics Twitter account caught this moment of tribute to great Russian authors:
The homage was not limited to amazing talents writing words, either. There was a spectacular tribute to those who penned notes.
No less than 62 pianists were brought on to tribute the legendary composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninov.
Philip Hersh of NBC Olympics helped capture this moment:
Things quickly got lighter as the circus tent was brought on, which was quickly followed by the popular mascots.
The Olympics Twitter account helped capture that moment:
There was the customary handover ceremony as Sochi passed the Winter Olympics torch to South Korea in a well-done segment, and then it was time for our giant, weeping bear to blow out the flame.
NBC Washington got a solid picture of that moment:
Now that is a visual that is hard to forget. Actually, that can be said for the entire closing ceremony, and that was a fitting end to these Olympics.