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Poignant Closing Ceremony rounds off challenging Games

03 Aug 1980
Moscow 1980, Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony of the Olympic Games is a chance to reflect on the glory of the world’s best competing on the grandest stage of them all.

After almost three weeks of intense competition, it’s a chance for all the athletes to relax and celebrate in the festival of sport to which they have all contributed.

It also marks the passing of one host to another, when the city that has spent so long lovingly preparing for the Games passes on that duty.

But with the United States boycotting the Games and the next hosts being Los Angeles, the Closing Ceremony at the iconic Lenin stadium was lent a poignant air.

The United States national anthem was replaced by the Olympic anthem, while there was no handing over of the flag to representatives of LA.

However, the organisers were not perturbed and managed to present a display of Russian pride every bit as dazzling as the Opening Ceremony had been.

Again the crowd was called upon to make the spectacle by holding cards aloft to make massive images, the most memorable being the bouncing Olympic flag.

The ever-present Games mascot, Misha, shedding a tear at the closing of the Games, entered the stadium attached to balloons; and he was released into the evening sky to rapturous applause from the crowd.

It was time to say goodbye to the Games that had created so many memorable moments, from the intensity of the battle between Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe to the ring craftsmanship of giant Cuban Teofilo Stevenson.

The Olympic baton passed to Los Angeles, which four years hence, would have the honour of hosting the greatest show on earth.

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