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Beijing stole the show at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Sunday by presenting a high-tech handover performance at the gala finale to herald the start of Olympic Beijing time.
The extinguishing of the Olympic flame in Pyeongchang, the Republic of Korea, on Sunday marked the beginning of a new four-year cycle to the 2022 Beijing Winter Games after Beijing Mayor Chen Jining received the Olympic flag from his Pyeongchang counterpart Shim Jaeguk.
Following the flag handover, an eight-minute show directed by renowned film producer Zhang Yimou welcomes the world to Beijing in a high-tech visual feast, facilitated by transparent projection screens playing images of modern China powered by robots skating with human artists disguised as pandas.
President Xi Jinping invited the world to Beijing in a video message during the show.
"Together with all the Chinese people, I welcome friends from all over the world. See you in Beijing in 2022," he said.
Zhang, who impressed the world for promoting China"s rich history and culture by directing the grand opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, said he expects the show on Sunday to help present his country"s more diversified image in the new era.
"We made every second count during the eight short minutes to showcase a confident China not only for its profound 5,000-year-old history, but also the remarkable achievements the country has made today," said Zhang.
With electronic music and colorful lights illuminating the night sky in Pyeongchang, the host also put on a dynamic finale show by fusing traditional Korean culture with contemporary dancing, singing and visual art presentation.
Visiting Vice-Premier Liu Yandong attended the closing ceremony as a special envoy sent by Xi after earlier meetings with Thomas Bach, the president of International Olympic Committee, and representatives of China"s sports delegation competing in Pyeongchang.
China attaches importance to further contributing to the Olympic Movement and the country will offer full support to Beijing to prepare for and host the 2022 Winter Olympics on a green, sharing, open and clean basis, Liu said during her meeting with Bach.
She encouraged China"s winter sports Olympians to train harder and more scientifically to achieve better results in the 2022 Winter Olympics at home.
The Chinese delegation finished 16th overall in the medal tally in Pyeongchang, with one gold, six silver and two bronze medals in five different events.
Wu Dajing, who won China"s only gold at the Games in the men"s 500m short-track speed skating, said the experience gained in Pyeongchang coupled with the government support has boosted his fellow athletes" confidence for great achievements in 2020.
A total of 2,920 athletes from 92 countries and regions competed in Pyeongchang for 102 gold medals, the most in history. A record 30 delegations won medals at the Pyeongchang Games, breaking a previous record of 26 in 2006, 2010 and 2014. Over 1.39 million spectators had visited the venues in Pyeongchang by Sunday afternoon.
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