Photos: Sochi Olympics Closing Ceremony

Photos: Sochi Olympics Closing Ceremony

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Dancers perform at the start of the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
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Artists reenact the Opening Ceremony ring failure during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
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Lights shows the colors of Russian national flag during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
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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 on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
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Artists perform during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
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Flag bearers parade ahead of athletes during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC
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Performers take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER
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Detonated fireworks are pictured behind the cauldon at the start of the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOV
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Performers dance during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
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An actors performs during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC
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Artists perform during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC
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Performers take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
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Dancers perform at the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKS
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Russian pianist Denis Matsuev performs at the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC
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Russian pianist Denis Matsuev (C) performs at the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC
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Ballet dancers take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC
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Performers takes part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER
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Performers takes part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER
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Ballet dancers perform at the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKS
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A performer floats through the sky as she takes part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV
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Performers take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV
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Circus performers take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER
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Performers take part in a tribute to Russian culture during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
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Circus dancers and acrobats perform at the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
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Performers take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER
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The rabbit, polar bear and leopard mascots stand in front of a small cauldron as they prepare to extinguish it during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. The 2018 Winter Olympic games are scheduled to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC
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The polar bear mascot extinguishes the Olympic Flame during the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. The 2018 Winter Olympic games are scheduled to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC
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A performer floats through the sky as she takes part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKS
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Performers take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER
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The Rabbit, Polar Bear and Leopard Olympic mascots take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. The 2018 Winter Olympic games are scheduled to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
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Performers take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER
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The Rabbit, Polar Bear and Leopard Olympic mascots perform in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. The 2018 Winter Olympic games are scheduled to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI
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Performers take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKS
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The Olympic flame claudron is pictured just after being extinguished at the end of the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics outside the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOV
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Fireworks explode behind the Olympic flame claudron after it was extinguished at the end of the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics outside the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOV
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Fireworks explode around the Fisht Olympic Stadium at the end of the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014 at the Olympic Park in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND
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Performers take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV
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The rabbit, polar bear and leopard Winter Olympic mascots take part in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014. The 2018 Winter Olympic games are scheduled to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
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Fireworks explode around the Fisht Olympic Stadium at the end of the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014 at the Olympic Park in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV
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Fireworks explode around the Fisht Olympic Stadium at the end of the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014 at the Olympic Park in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV
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Fireworks explode around the Fisht Olympic Stadium at the end of the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014 at the Olympic Park in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV

Russia closed the costliest Olympics ever on Sunday night with a visually stunning finale that handed off a smooth but politically charged Winter Games to their next host, Pyeongchang in South Korea.

The nation’s 51 billion US dollar investment which transformed a decaying resort town on the Black Sea into a household name brought praise from Thomas Bach, the new IOC president.

In a charming touch, Sochi organisers poked fun at themselves.

In the centre of the stadium, dancers in shimmering silver costumes formed themselves into four rings and a clump.

It was a wink to a globally noticed technical glitch in the February 7 opening ceremony, when one of the five Olympic rings failed to open.

There was ballet, with dancers from rival Russian ballet companies the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky dancing together, and the Moscow State Circus was there to flex its talents.

The games’ next stop, South Korea, was represented by singing children as the nations flag was raised.

But perhaps the most memorable part, the games’ polar bear mascot, standing tall, shed a fake tear as he blew out a cauldron of flames, extinguishing the Olympic torch that burned outside the stadium.

Day and night, the flame had become a favourite backdrop for “Sochi selfies,” a buzzword born at these games for the fad of athletes and spectators taking DIY souvenir photos of themselves.

Not only did Russia host the games, but the arithmetic was clear, their Olympic team was king of the medals, 33 overall with 13 of them gold.

It’s the first time Russia has topped both the men’s and women’s medals tables since the break up of the Soviet Union.

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