Athletes Enter Closing Ceremony to ‘Ode to Joy,' Surrounded By Zodiac Skates

The closing ceremony officially closes the 2022 Winter Olympics

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Sixteen days after the 2022 Winter Olympics began with the opening ceremony, the Games officially conclude with the closing ceremony held in the same place.

The Beijing National Stadium, or Bird's Nest, has now opened and closed two Olympics after doing the same in 2008.

During Sunday's closing ceremony, athletes from across the world entered the stadium in a unique way. Here's how it happened:

Covered by a 'Chinese knot'

Many aspects of Chinese culture are based around tradition, and that was the case at the closing ceremony. The traditional "Chinese knot" pattern appeared over the stadium just before athletes around the world began to gather for one final time in Beijing. The knot symbolized the connection of China with the world, as well as the Olympic spirit of “Together.”

Using augmented reality, the red Chinese knot was rendered digitally in the sky. It seemed like there was a giant physical knot hanging in the Bird's Nest, but it was all a virtual display.

'Ode to Joy' played in the background

With the Chinese knot projected in the sky, the athletes entered from the horizon to the classical composition "Ode to Joy." During the entry of athletes, the song was meant to inject a cheerful mood and carnival-like atmosphere for people around the world.

Chinese zodiac skates surrounded the athletes

As the athletes finish entering the stadium, 12 giant ice skates carrying children dancing entered. The 12 skates were inspired by the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, which are used to count years of the Chinese lunar calendar.

In China, each person is given an animal based on their birth year. The animals include a mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, chicken, dog or pig.

As another nod to history and tradition, a number of poems, paintings, sculptures and artwork from Chinese history were present. All of this display was meant to symbolize good wishes for the Chinese New Year.

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