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    Sochi Winter Olympics End with Pageantry

    The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia closed Sunday with a burst of pageantry celebrating the host country's moment on the global athletic stage.

    The $51 billion 2014 games, the most expensive ever, headed to a safe conclusion despite the strong threat of terrorist attacks before the 17 days of skiing, sledding and skating events that were televised around the world.

    Fireworks lit the night-time sky outside Fisht Olympic Stadium. Inside, a giant bear character blew his frosty breath on a flame, and moments later the outdoor Olympic torch was extinguished.

    Hours before, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach praised the host city.



    "You know we were here (in 1994), you saw an old Stalinist-style sanatorium city, where whenever you entered the room you were looking at the roof (to see) whether you would be hit by something falling down. It was terrible, and then seeing now 20 years after, this transformation, is really amazing."



    Russian athletes were the most successful, ending the games with the most overall medals and most gold medals. The hosts finished with 33 total medals - 13 of them gold.

    The United States collected 28 medals, followed by Norway with 26. Norway followed Russia in gold medals with 11, while Canada took 10.



    Russians dominated two events on the last day of competition. The host country's skiers took all three top spots in the grueling 50-kilometer cross-country mass event, with Alexander Legkov finishing ahead of two countrymen.

    Russia also captured the gold in the four-man bobsled, led by Alexander Zubkov, who had already won the two-man event. Latvia earned the silver medal Sunday, and the United States took the third-place bronze, piloted by Steven Holcomb in his favorite event.

    Canada defended its men's Olympic hockey title, defeating Sweden in the final event of the games.

    The Canadians scored once in each period in dominating the Swedes, 3-0, to capture the gold medal. Canada is the first team to go through the Olympic tournament unbeaten since the Soviet Union in 1984 at the Sarajevo games.

    The next Winter Games are in South Korea in 2018.

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