Meredith Vieira's Favorite 'Today' Moments

The departing host shares her fondest memories – the Beijing Olympics! The Royal Wedding! – from the morning show

01 of 08

CLOWNING AROUND

CLOWNING AROUND
NBC

"I had the opportunity to join Big Apple Circus Clown Care and become a pediatric clown for the day. These 'clown doctors' visit thousands of sick children every year, putting a smile on their faces and allowing them to feel like kids instead of patients," Meredith Vieira tells PEOPLE. "It was an incredible honor to be one of them. My name was Dr. Ditsy, and boy, was I!"

02 of 08

WILL FERRELL DROPS BY

WILL FERRELL DROPS BY
NBC

"He and I were at the Rockefeller Center ice-skating rink promoting his new film, Blades of Glory. I skated between his legs, but he couldn't grab onto my hands in time and I went down with a thud," Vieira says. "My lawyers have been trying to catch up with him ever since! Just kidding!"

03 of 08

DANCING WITH THE ROCKETTES

DANCING WITH THE ROCKETTES
Dave Allocca/Startraks

"It had always been my dream to dance with the Rockettes, but at 5'3" – with only passable tap-dancing skills – I knew I never stood a chance," Vieira, 57, says. "Until I became co-host of Today and suddenly got the opportunity to kick up my heels with the best dancers around. It's one chorus line I will never forget."

04 of 08

VIRGINIA TECH SHOOTING

VIRGINIA TECH SHOOTING
Reuters/Landov

"During a candlelight vigil at the school to honor the memory of those students who had been shot and killed, several kids came up to me crying," Vieira recalls. "They said how much they missed their moms in that moment and needed a hug. They told me that they felt a maternal connection to me from watching the show every day. As I embraced each one, I realized how great an impact our broadcast has on individuals' lives. It was extremely humbling."

05 of 08

THE BEIJING OLYMPICS

THE BEIJING OLYMPICS
Getty

"It was my first Olympics, and China's as well," Vieira says. "Being there as China opened its doors to the West was an amazing experience. I could have done without the fried crickets on a stick, however!"

06 of 08

RUNNING A MARATHON

RUNNING A MARATHON
Anthony Quintano

"I was blessed with not only a great job but also great coworkers. Al Roker and I bonded over training for the marathon," Vieira says. "He truly was my inspiration every step of the way. As much as I loved finally crossing the finish line, the most touching moment came when Al's son put the medal around his dad's neck...both were beaming from ear to ear."

07 of 08

TRICK OR TREAT

TRICK OR TREAT
Splash News Online; Erik Pendzich/Rex USA

"From playing Lady Gaga to Princess Leia to Lily Munster to Pinocchio...nobody does Halloween better than Today!" she says.

08 of 08

THE ROYAL WEDDING

THE ROYAL WEDDING
Mark Allan/NBC

"It was the last major event I covered with Matt Lauer, the greatest partner anyone could ever have," says Vieira, whose final broadcast of Today aired Wednesday. "He was complaining about how he wasn't into the wedding at all...couldn't see what the big deal was. But as Prince William and Princess Catherine were driving through the crowds in their Aston Martin after the marriage ceremony, I thought I saw Matt start to tear up. I commented how it had finally gotten to him and without missing a beat he said, 'It's not the wedding, it's that car!' "

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