Closing Ceremony of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games: what should we expect ?

With only a few days left before the 2018 Olympic Winter Games end, it is almost time for PyeongChang to say farewell to the athletes of the 23rd edition of the Winter Games. After a colorful opening ceremony, what can we expect for the Closing Ceremony on February 25th ?

Many elements of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) protocol regarding the ceremonies are now considered as traditions of the Closing Ceremony.

Interpretation of the national anthem

After the arrival and words of welcome to the audience, the Korean national anthem will be played as the host country’s flag is raised above the Olympic Stadium.

Entry of the nations’ flags

The nations’ flags parade is a pivotal moment of the Closing Ceremony. It is opened with the Greek flag, home of the very first Olympic Games, and is closed with the host country flag. The flag bearers are chosen by the national olympic committee of each country.  

Parade of the athletes

After the entrance of the nations’ flags is the athletes’ parade. Contrary to the Opening Ceremony where they march behind their country’s flag bearer, athletes walk together with no specific order and regardless of their native country, symbolizing how the world came together for the two weeks of the Olympic Games.

This idea came from John Ian Wing, a Chinese apprentice carpenter in Australia, for the 1956 Melbourne Games.

Victory Ceremony

In the first Olympic Games of the modern era, all medal ceremonies were held during the Closing Ceremony. Nowadays, the IOC and the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (OCOG) choose which sport or discipline will have its medal ceremony during the Closing Ceremony.

Introduction of the athletes’ commission’s newly elected members and recognition of the volunteers

For this stage of the protocol, athletes of each delegation elect one of their peers at the athletes’ commission. These new members give out flowers to volunteers to recognize their work in bringing the Olympic Games to life.

Moment of remembrance

For the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, a place of private mourning was added for the first in the Olympic village in order to allow all athletes to mourn those who have passed away, in a special and dignified way. For the same reasons, a moment of remembrance will be taken during the Closing Ceremony to allow everybody to remember loved ones who are longer with us and have touched our lives.

Playing of the Greek national anthem

As a symbol of what links the Games of Antiquity and the modern era Games, the Greek flag will be raised on the left side of the Korean flag while the Greek national anthem is playing.

Lowering and handover of the Olympic flag and next host city artistic segment

The Olympic flag will be lowered and handed over to the mayor of the next host city of the Olympic Winter Games, Beijing in 2022, by Lee Seo-rae, mayor of PyeongChang. This symbolic passing of the flag is a significant moment during the Closing Ceremony, which is afterward highlighted by an artistic segment of the next host city. This segment serves as an invitation to the youth of the world to take part in the next Olympic Winter Games.

Extinguishing of the Olympic Flame

After a short speech from the presidents of the OCOG and IOC to thank the athletes and volunteers and declare the Olympic Winter Games over. Finally, the Olympic flame will be extinguished, officially closing the Olympic Winter Games.

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