News / Europe

Sochi Olympics Close with Russia on a Roll

Confetti rains down at the end of the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 23, 2014.
Confetti rains down at the end of the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Feb. 23, 2014.
James Brooke
A choir of 1,000 Russian children sang the national anthem in a stirring closing ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
The 40,000-seat stadium was bursting with Russian pride. Four years ago, at Vancouver, Russia placed 11th in the medals count. In Sochi, they unexpectedly vaulted to the top.
Khristina, a volunteer from Moscow, captured Russia’s mood:

“I am not a very patriotic person, but I have seen Russia at the top of the medals table, and seen them win two events today. This is really great, really good for the country,” said she.
The glittering closing ceremony involved 5,500 costumes and 44,000 props.
Russian themes dominated - classical ballerinas twirled, circus acrobats performed flips, a pianist played classical Russian compositions, and a whirlwind funneled skyward the writings of Tolstoy, Chekhov and Dostoevsky.
President Putin appeared in a business suit, smiling and waving in his usual restrained style. He left it to the head of his Olympic organizing committee, Dmitriy Chernyshenko, to proclaim that the world had seen the “face of the new Russia.”
And the politicians left mood creation to the platoons of world class winter athletes who paraded - dancing, waving and cheering - around the packed stadium.
After all the nervousness about possible terrorist attacks or construction failings, Russians basked Sunday in the praise of international Olympic officials, who told reporters that the Sochi Winter Olympics were a success.
Khristina, the volunteer, confirmed this.

“It was really great that the Olympics went well, that Russia got the most medals, that the closing ceremony was amazing, and nothing major happened, no terrorist attacks” said she.
Toward the end of Sunday’s ceremony, South Korea’s national anthem was played, and the Olympic flag was handed to Lee Seok-rae, mayor of Pyeongchang, South Korea - the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
At the very end, the Polar Bear, one of Sochi’s three Olympic mascots, shed an ice blue tear - and then blew out the Olympic flame.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Regula from: USA
February 24, 2014 8:04 AM
What an immensely beautiful Olympics - not just world class, but way beyond, a genuine piece of art. No wonder the US press has so little coverage of it with barely an image to show. The US appears to be very muff and jealous that Putin doesn't just talk like Obama and then the actions are something completely different, but that Putin actually delivered his promises and more than just what he promised. Way more.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs