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Performers create the shape of the Olympic rings during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP/Getty Images

Dancers perform a celebration of Russian ballet during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

Artists perform during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Matthias Schrader / Associated Press

Brazil's bobsleigh athlete Sally Mayara da Silva dances after the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: DAMIEN MEYER / AFP/Getty Images

Fireworks explode around the Fisht Olympic Stadium at the end of the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP/Getty Images

A big chandelier is seen during the Closing Ceremony in Fisht Olympic Stadium at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: DANIEL KARMANN / EPA

In this image taken with a slow shutter speed, a piano player performs during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: David J. Phillip / Associated Press

A performer floats through the sky during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP/Getty Images

Artists perform during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP/Getty Images

An artist is suspended as she performs during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Darron Cummings / Associated Press

Artists reenact the Opening Ceremony ring failure during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP/Getty Images

In this image taken with a slow shutter speed, a piano player performs during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Ballerinas perform during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: TATYANA ZENKOVICH / EPA

Fireworks explode around the Fisht Olympic Stadium at the end of the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Olympic Park in Sochi.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: ALEXANDER NEMENOV / AFP/Getty Images

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Closing ceremony from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

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Closing ceremony from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

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Closing ceremony from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

The Sochi Games ended much like they began, with a colorful homage to Russia’s rich cultural history. Just as it had two weeks ago, the ceremony featured spectacular dancing, tributes to great writers and stirring classical music piped throughout Fisht Olympic Stadium.

This time, however, they nailed the unveiling of all five Olympic rings.

During the opening ceremony, a giant hydraulic snowflake failed to transform into one of five interlocking rings dangling above the stadium. The mishap made international news, as some jokingly suggested it could be an omen for President Vladimir Putin and the $51 billion Games that were meant to demonstrate Russia’s strength and superiority under his leadership.

The Russians seemed to briefly mock those jabs – and themselves – during the closing festivities as 700 performers in mirrored costumes formed small circles that blossomed into the rings. The fifth circle purposefully refused to transform into the fifth ring for a few seconds and then drew a large roar of approval from the crowd when it finally acquiesced.

Though most closing ceremonies take on a block-party atmosphere with athletes dancing and singing together, the Sochi athletes spent the majority of the event seated quietly in the stands as if attending a college lecture.

They only left their seats at the very end of the ceremony, when English-language pop music was pumped through the sound system and they were invited to dance on the stadium floor.

Organizers did show a bit of whimsy when they had one of the Sochi mascots – a giant animatronic polar bear named Mishka – extinguish a symbolic flame in the middle of the stadium. The bear appeared to cry as the fire died out.

– Associated Press

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