Olympic Closing Ceremony—What Will the Chinese Blow Us Away With Next?

Frankly, I don’t know how it is humanly possible to top the brilliance displayed during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, but according to Chinese officials, viewers can expect another lavish production come Sunday.

According to reports, several international stars will converge on Beijing to make the closing ceremony of the 2008 Olympics one of the most amazing spectacles the world has ever seen. Included in the all-star line up is world-famous Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, who will reportedly grace the stage in a duet with Chinese soprano star Song Zuying. In addition, insiders confirm that the ceremony will also include a synchronized kung fu display featuring 350 members from local martial arts school. Following the flexible kung fu masters will be 60 musicians playing the Chinese string instrument “erhu” in unison.

The closing ceremony will take place on August 24th. While the date is not as auspicious as 8-08-08, Chinese officials say if you add the 2 and 4 you get the number 6, which is widely regarded in China as a lucky number because of the way it sounds. The number 6, pronounced “liu” in Mandarin, sounds like the word for “flowing” or “smooth,” which the Chinese equate to meaning “everything goes smoothly.”

There’s no doubt that the Chinese are hoping the closing ceremony goes off without a hitch. However, that might be a bit more challenging given that unlike the opening ceremony, the closing will not involve any dress rehearsals since the men’s marathon ends at the open-air National Stadium, or “Bird’s Nest” just eight hours prior to the big farewell show.

Still, Olympic insiders say Chinese officials are sparing no expense for the closing ceremony. The show will reportedly be chock full of native performances with a focus on elements of southwestern China’s Yunnan culture. The climax of the show will come as the Olympic flame is extinguished.

Right before that’s done a handover ceremony will take place. Chinese organizers will allow time for London, which will host the 2012 Olympics, to perform an eight-minute dance show featuring soccer star David Beckham kicking a ball from the top of one of London’s famous red double-decker buses. According to British media, hundreds of dancers from the UK will then perform ballet and break-dancing routines while former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page performs a duet with pop star Leona Lewis.

Insiders say the London segment contains “quite a bit of humor” and will be in stark contrast to the Chinese goodbye.

Will you be watching the closing ceremony on Sunday night?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.