What to Expect at the Olympics Closing Ceremony, Hosted by Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir on NBC
The 2018 Winter Games are set to come to an end — here's what to expect in the closing ceremony
The 2018 Winter Olympics are coming to an end, and just like the spectacular event that opened the Games on February 9, South Korea is expected to put on one last breathtaking show for the closing ceremony.
The nation is expected to throw a gigantic bash in Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium on Sunday that celebrates their art and culture. Viewers will be able to tune in to the NBC Sports website or catch it on the NBC Sports app at 6 a.m. ET and 3 a.m. PT.
For those not eager to get up quite that early, don’t fret: NBC will broadcast the closing ceremony on Sunday night, and recently announced that celebrated figure skating commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir will host, alongside their significantly less sparkly skating co-host Terry Gannon.
“It’s such an honor,” Weir said Wednesday evening when the announcement was made during primetime skating.
Gannon, meanwhile, delivered a cheekier response.
“I’m honored and excited to be hosting the closing ceremony with my reserved, understated broadcast partners Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir,” he said, before adding that the group is “looking forward to a fitting farewell at the end of a truly memorable experience in PyeongChang.”
It was revealed Friday that Jesse Diggins, who earned a history making cross-country skiing gold medal alongside teammate Kikkin Randall, will carry the flag for Team USA at the closing ceremony.
“I really thought there maybe had been a mistake,” Diggins told Today of the moment she got the news. “It is so humbling, and I feel so honored to have been picked.”
While most of the details for the show are being kept under wraps until the big day, it’s expected that Korean celebrities and K-Pop singers will make appearances (the opening ceremony, of course, treated viewers to the 2012 hit “Gangnam Style” by PSY, and a slew of K-Pop singers served as torchbearers).
The K-Pop group Exo and singer CL are rumored to perform. As is tradition, the event will likely incorporate a passing of the torch to Beijing, which will host the 2022 Winter Games.
The event will also feature a march of the 2018 class of Olympians, giving the world one more chance to celebrate their performances (minus a pair of Russian curlers). For Team USA and the other participating countries, the closing ceremony will be an opportunity to send off fresh-faced athletes like Nathan Chen, Chloe Kim and Mikaela Shiffrin who will likely be back on the ice and snow in 2022.
There will also be a little bit of political buzz: Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s elder daughter, will be leading the Presidential delegation, along with White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
“I am honored to lead the US delegation to the closing ceremonies of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. We look forward to congratulating Team USA and celebrating all that our athletes have achieved. Their talent, drive, grit and spirit embodies American excellence, and inspire us all,” Trump said in a statement.
Who won’t be in attendance during the closing ceremony? Vice President Mike Pence, who drew the ire of Olympians Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy after he was selected to lead the delegation during the opening ceremony on February 9.
“To have someone leading the delegation that’s directly attacked the LGBT community … it just seems like a bad fit,” Kenworthy said, according to Yahoo News. “I feel like the Olympics is all about inclusion and people coming together, and it seems like it’s not really doing that.”
Kenworthy, a champion snowboarder, broke his thumb during a practice run at the Olympics and made a quip about Pence on Twitter when announcing the injury.
“Broke my thumb yesterday in practice,” he wrote on February 15. “It won’t stop me from competing (obvi) but it does prevent me from shaking Pence’s hand so… Silver linings! Will be giving my teammates (and literally everyone else) an enthusiastic ‘thumbs up!’ of encouragement the rest of the trip.”
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There is also a bit of controversy around whether the International Olympic Committee will feature the Russian flag in the closing ceremony, even though the country was banned from the games due to systemic doping at the 2014 Sochi Games. Russian athletes who could show they were clean were allowed to participate in the Games under the IOC flag. The committee is expected to give its decision on Saturday.
The closing ceremony will also be the last event for Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, which was exclusively built for both of the Olympic ceremonies (the first stadium of its sorts in Olympic history).
But don’t worry just yet if you’re feeling the itch for more Olympic competitions: the final events will feature bobsledding and a figure skating exhibition, which are both scheduled for Saturday, February 24. After that, you’ll have to wait for the summer of 2020 for the next Olympics.
The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.