Music, celebrities at closing ceremony

March 1, 2010 at 1:22 AM
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 1 (UPI) -- The Vancouver Olympics ended Sunday with the head of the International Olympic Committee declaring the gathering "excellent and friendly games."

"To the athletes of theses games, we say you have made us proud," IOC President Jacques Rogge said during the closing ceremonies, "These were excellent and very friendly games."

In contrast to the opening ceremonies two weeks ago, when athletes entered BC Place in Vancouver in groups representing their countries, the competitors came into the stadium en masse Sunday to celebrate the achievements but also to commemorate the tragedy that befell the games when Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed during a training run hours before the Feb. 12 opening ceremonies.

The closing pageant featured the Moscow State Chamber Choir performing the Russian national anthem. The presentation included ballet, a performance by an orchestra in Russia led by a conductor in Vancouver, and the handover of the Olympic flag for the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia.

The festivities included appearances by Canadian actors William Shatner, Michael J. Fox and Catherine O'Hara and musicians Michael Buble, Nickelback, Avril Lavigne and Alanis Morissette.

Canadian music icon Neil Young performed his hit, "Long May You Run."

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