Some of the best offerings from the Winter Games.
Published March 24, 2014

The Olympics closed Sunday night with a ceremony full of tributes to the Russian arts (top right), but it began with a well-crafted joke. Remember the opening ceremony, when one of the five snowflakelike figures that opened into Olympic rings failed to unfold? In the closing ceremony, dancers, looking as if they were flowing strands of tinsel in their reflective costumes, first darted and streamed like fish in the nearby Black Sea. Finally, they formed into five flower-like clusters. Four opened into Olympic rings. One hovered, unattached, as if unable to open (above). Then it did, and the five rings were perfect. The audience laughed and applauded. As always, the ceremony included a segment celebrating the next host city, PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018 (bottom right). Segment executive director Yoon Ho-Jin said the segment was to showcase Korea's "unique artistic aura to the world." When it came time for the speeches, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach broke from tradition and did not bestow any superlative upon these Games, as his predecessors have done at other closing ceremonies. "Tonight we can say Russia delivered all that it promised," he said. Bach congratulated Vladimir Putin, saying the Russian president's personal commitment had meant extraordinary success.

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Trivia wrap-up

- Russia topped the overall medals table for the second time at the Winter Games (1994) and is the first Winter Olympic host to sweep overall and gold medal tables since Norway in 1952, the last time the Soviet Union-Russia didn't compete.

- The United States won five of its nine gold medals and nine of its 28 medals overall in 12 events in X Games sports.

- Twitter said the most mentioned sport on its site throughout the Olympics was curling. The athlete mentioned most in tweets throughout the Games was Japan's Mao Asada, who finished sixth in women's figure skating, it said.

- NBC's prime-time viewership averaged 22.1 million people through Friday. Although fading at the end, that number should still land between the 2010 Vancouver Games (24.4 million), which had the advantage of live events, and the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy (20.2 million). Possibly more important to NBC: No prime-time show on any other network beat its Olympic show on any night of the Games, the Nielsen Co. said.

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Quote of the day

"You will see when I put it out on eBay."

Sweden and Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, asked what his men's hockey silver medal is worth to him

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Gold-medal-winning Twitter post of the Games

"4 yrs ago I was drunk on a couch & said I wanna go to the Olympics 4 yrs later I'm drunk on a couch at the Olympics"

Canadian bobsledder Tim Randall, 27, who took up the sport after the 2010 Vancouver Games and finished 13th in the four-man event Sunday

Compiled from Times wires,, Infostrada Sports, ESPN.