Overall positive impression of the closing ceremonies, except for that wretched little Chinese girl who lip-synched on the lantern. The song scared my cats and they ran away and hid and I was sad.
The speech from the organizer lady was terrific, hitting all the right notes. She seems from the little we’ve seen of her to be a total class act. The IOC president could have gone a little easier on the doping talk in his speech. Supposed to be a celebration, not a lecture.
The medal ceremony for the marathon was very touching. de Lima conducted himself beautifully in the face of what has to be enormous disappointment and pressure to be gracious. I was sort of hoping they’d show the Coubertin medal presentation as well (mostly because I have no idea what it looks like and it would be interesting to see).
I liked the pageantry of the closing better than the opening. Less oblique mythological references and more everyday people/history/culture. I still don’t like the awarding of the 2008 Games to China (stuffed Olympic mascots made with slave labor anyone?) but with the exception of the aforementioned cat-scaring rugrat the Chinese presentation was gorgeous.
I liked hearing what I could of the Greek pop music, in between the yet again incessant and completely unnecessary rambling of the idiot commentators. You’ve been asking the athletes for two weeks what it’s like to win a medal and/or be at the games. No one who hasn’t won a medal is ever going to know what it’s like to win one and hearing the same clutch of athletes (Rulan Gardner, Michael Phelps, etc.) giving the umpteenth variation on “it’s amazing” and “I’m loving soaking up the atmosphere” is not preferable to hearing the music you paid a billion dollars to broadcast so SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!