The Olympic Closing Ceremony (北京奥运会闭幕式)

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The Bird Nest The Night Of The Closing Ceremony

The Bird Nest The Night Of The Closing Ceremony

Last Sunday, we attended the Beijing Olympic Closing Ceremony. We left early, expecting a huge crowd: the previous days, we had attended a couple of volleyball games and track and field, and getting to the Olympic Green was… challenging.

First of all, subway station are now equipped with X-ray machines and all bags have to be checked. This is quick though and I haven’t seen any bag been searched. Things were getting a bit more complicated at the entry of the line 8, the three-stops line which goes to the Olympic Sport Center, the Green, and the Olympic Forest. To take this line, we first had to get off of the transfer station at Beitucheng, show we had ticket for an Olympic event that day and be searched. That meant going outside and crossing a huge crowd of scalpers, tourists and vendors, then taking the actual line 8 to reach the Green. Not to mention that at the end of the event, roughly 100,000 people leaving at the same time just doesn’t work well in the subway.

But the day of the closing ceremony, the security was a bit tighter and those without tickets couldn’t hang out outside of the line 8 station. We just passed a quick security check and we were in. The only difference with the previous days was the choppers flying around the stadium and the army trying to secure the area for the fireworks later that night.

Everybody was so excited. People were taking pictures, kids were running around, a few were trying to buy bottles of cold water and we were all marching up to the stadium, sweaty but happy. Inside the stadium we were given a goodie bag as a souvenir, but also to participate in the event: we had a program, an olympic torch replica, a small drum, wristbands, a fan, water etc. The ceremony started soon after we found our seats. The stadium was packed: 91,000 spectators! It was hot, like Beijing hot in the summer, and I could see steam coming out of the stadium.

In a word, the ceremony was a lot of fun. The protocol was respected: there were flags bearers, a lot of athletes, speeches from official such as Jacques Rogges and Liu Qi, the Olympic flag was presented to the mayor of London etc. But the performances in between were just awesome. The lights, the choreography (by Zhang Zhimou)… Everything was well-organized but spontaneous and fun at the same time. Jimmy Page (of Led Zeppelin) performed “Whole Lotta Love” while David Beckam kicked a few footballs in the crowd. The athletes, probably tired of sitting around on the field, started to run around. Jackie Chan sung (yeah, I know…). We all freaked out when we heard loud explosions, only to realize that was the fireworks around the stadium that, of course, we couldn’t see (being in the stadium, it felt like they were setting us on fire). Here are a few pictures I took:


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Lucky you! But you deserved it: you had to be VERY patient to finally be there. I wouldn’t have done it. Not much of a crowd person, esp combined with hot humidity.
    Great photos.

  2. First of all: what great pictures taken by you! It must have been very special to be there in person as millions of others watched it on TV.

    An amazing show of course and I think the best was to see the athletes mingling around in harmony.

    The British can’t compete but have to do it their way – looking forward to that as well.

    RennyBAs last great read…Bodø in Norway just north of the Arctic Circle

  3. Hey I watched it on TV and thoroughly enjoyed so I bet you did have a fabulous time just being there ya 😀

    Your trip back to Beijing indeed are special Zhu 😀

  4. Hey Zhu,

    I can see that the closing was as beautiful as the opening (I didn’t watch the Olympics but I had people sending me the photos)…

    When are you coming back?
    Anyway, have a safe trip back :D!


    Max Coutinhos last great read…Conspiracy Theories

  5. @kyh – The tickets were about 100US I think… 400 yuan. We bought it through CoSport, which sold the official olympic tickets. Now at the black market, it was much more expensive!

    @Froggywoogie – I don’t mind the crowd, even though I’m not used to it after living in empty Canada. The weather, I don’t mind either. Better than freezing cold!

    @Aiglee – It was great, but for the fireworks 😉

    @RennyBA – It really went on really well and I’m glad China did fine. The atmosphere was great, I can tell you.

    @Scarlet – Thank you!

    @shionge – This one is, because is one in a lifetime’s experience!

    @Annie – I guess we were too sweaty and dirty to be shown on T.V 😉

    @Shantanu – China did great in my opinion. It was a lot of fun!

    @Max Coutinho – Thank you! I just got back to Ottawa a few minutes ago…

  6. Stunning!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes something happens that is unique and will be remembered for a lifetime. Zhu, judging by your amazing photographs, I don’t think you will ever forget that experience. I watched the ceremony from the TV at my friend’s house. I kept pointing to the screen and saying “My friend Zhu is there!”. It made it even more exciting for me watch, knowing that you were in the crowd. I am so pleased that you had such a wonderful time, and the photographs from your journey have been so enjoyable to see.

    My adventure to Egypt has been cancelled by the travel company, so I am feeling very sad at the moment. Your photographs have really cheered me up. Thanks my friend!!! 🙂

    Grahams last great read…A little preview of where I live and work

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