Triumph in Tokyo: Olympics Conclude After Year Delay with Spectacular Closing Ceremony

Over two weeks after a very delayed Tokyo Games kicked off in Japan, the Olympics finished with fireworks and a final parade of nations at the Olympic Stadium

Olympics closing ceremony
Olympics closing ceremony. Photo: AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

Japan knows how to put on a show.

To cap off a thrilling two-plus weeks of elite athletics, the Tokyo Olympics celebrated with an over-the-top closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

With fireworks and unique cultural performances — and another parade of nations — the closing ceremony was the perfect cap on the unique Games, which were postponed one year amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to a performance by the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, and a final medal ceremony for the winners of the men's and women's marathon, the closing ceremony included the raising of the French flag — and an official handing off of the Olympic flag to the country for the next Summer Games in Paris in 2024.

Olympics closing
Olympics closing ceremony. Getty

After a rousing opera performance of the Olympic anthem by Tomotaka Okamoto, the Olympic flag was given to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo by IOC President Thomas Bach.

For more on the Tokyo Olympics closing ceremony and other top stories, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

"Tonight the Olympic flame that has lit up Tokyo will quietly go out," Olympic President Seiko Hashimoto said toward the end of the ceremony, continuing, "It will remain alight in the hearts of people all over the world as we continue to hope for peace."

Later, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach told athletes from a podium that "you inspired us with this unifying power of sport," which he called "even more remarkable" due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The evening concluded with the extinguishing of the Olympic flame, which was preceded by a sweet performance of the Japanese song "Hoshi Meguri no Uta (A Stroll Among the Stars)" by a woman and several children.

Olympics closing ceremony
Olympics closing ceremony. Rob Carr/Getty Images

Coverage of the closing ceremony on NBC was led by former Olympians Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, who told PEOPLE ahead of time that they were "honored" to get the gig.

Said Lipinski, "It was a privilege to host the closing ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics but to now have the opportunity to cover both Games, it's a dream come true."

RELATED VIDEO: Skier Gus Kenworthy Is Ready for His 'Swan Song' at the Beijing Winter Olympics

The United States ends the Games with 113 medals, topping the country leaderboard for total won. Of those, 39 were gold — also making the U.S. the winningest nation over China. The total falls just short of the last Games in Rio, when America won 121 total.

To learn more about Team USA, visit Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

Related Articles