Team USA Walks in Olympics Closing Ceremony as Beijing Games Come to an End

Team USA was led by flagbearer Elana Meyers Taylor for the Closing Ceremony

Team USA at the Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony
Team USA at the Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony. Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

That's all, folks.

After over two weeks of guts and glory, the 2022 Winter Games have come to an end, and host city Beijing is celebrating with a Closing Ceremony. Held at the National Stadium — as were this Games' opening events — the ceremony began with children carrying snowflake lanterns to mark the 20th day of China's lunar year.

Eventually, athletes from all the participating countries entered the stadium to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," this time walking onto the LED-lights covered floor at the Bird's Nest in no particular order. Team USA was led by flagbearer Elana Meyers Taylor, who was selected by her peers after being unable to serve as the flagbearer in the Opening Ceremony due to testing positive for COVID-19.

Clad in their matching red, white and blue Ralph Lauren uniforms, Team USA's athletes gathered for selfies as the crowd looked on, some showing off their new hardware before retreating to their seats.

Later — following the presentation of Beijing's final medals — the snowflake Olympic Cauldron was suspended over the festivities, as a group of women clad in shiny gowns performed a dance. Others, carrying glowing green bundles, approached the snowflake as rays of light shot up from the floor to the cauldron.

Closing Ceremony
Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony. Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Soon, the Greek flag was raised, with the country's national anthem playing throughout the stadium to commemorate the first country to ever host an Olympic Games.

Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony
Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony. James Chance/Getty Images

A Chinese children's choir performed the Olympic Anthem before the Olympic flag was lowered and handed over to the next host of a Winter Games: Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, in 2026.

IOC President Thomas Bach officially closed the 2022 Games with a speech during the ceremony, complimenting the athletes' "outstanding performances."

"Each and every one of you strived to achieve your personal best," said Bach. "We were deeply touched how you were wishing and cheering for your competitors to achieve their best as well. You not only respected each other, you supported each other. You embraced each other even if your countries are divided by conflict."

He continued, "You overcame these divisions, demonstrating that in this Olympic community we are all equal. We are all equal, regardless of what we look like, where we come from or what we believe. … You give peace a chance. May the political leaders around the world be inspired by your example of solidarity and peace."

To learn more about Team USA, visit Watch the Winter Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.

Updated by
Lindsay Kimble

Lindsay Kimble is a Senior Digital News Editor and the Sports Editor for PEOPLE Digital. She's worked at PEOPLE for over seven years as a writer, reporter and editor across our Entertainment, Lifestyle and News teams, covering everything from the Super Bowl to the Met Gala. She's been nominated for the ASME NEXT Awards for Journalists Under 30, and previously wrote for Us Weekly while on staff at Wenner Media.

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