Day 16 of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

By Helen Regan and Sofia Mitra-Thakur CNN

Updated 8:37 PM ET, Sun February 20, 2022
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8:55 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

IOC President Thomas Bach thanks China and has a message for the leaders of the world

From CNN's Ben Church

IOC president Thomas Bach delivers a speech during the Closing Ceremony.
IOC president Thomas Bach delivers a speech during the Closing Ceremony. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

IOC President Thomas Bach uses his farewell speech to deliver a plea for peace and unity while thanking the Chinese people for hosting the Winter Games.

"Give peace a chance," he said, urging world leaders to be inspired by the sporting spectacle in Beijing this month.

Bach also praised the organizers for hosting the Games amid the pandemic, thanking the volunteers for their kindness and ever-present enthusiasm.

Bach then officially declares the 24th Winter Games closed, prompting loud applause from those within the stadium.

Just time for one last emotional video as Beijing says goodbye.

8:31 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Beijing 2022 hands over to Milano Cortina 2026

From CNN's Ben Church

 (Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
 (Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

A choir of children takes to the stage and sing while the Olympic flag is lowered inside the stadium -- cute is an understatement.

IOC president Thomas Bach hands the flag to the mayors of Milan and Cortina to complete the handover process ahead of the 2026 Winter Games in Italy.

The Italian flag is then raised to the soundtrack of the country' national anthem.

It may be four years away but preparations have already begun for the next Games.

"Duality, Together" is the motto for the sporting spectacle that promises to raise awareness of sustainability.

Italy has twice hosted Winter Olympics in the past -- Cortina in 1956 and Turin in 2006 -- but it will be the first held in Milan.

The 2026 Games will take place from February 6-22, while the Winter Paralympics is set for March 6-15.

8:07 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

American Samoa's Nathan Crumpton braves the Beijing cold bare-chested at Closing Ceremony

From CNN's Jack Bantock

Nathan Crumpton of Team American Samoa waves the flag during the Winter Olympic Closing Ceremony.
Nathan Crumpton of Team American Samoa waves the flag during the Winter Olympic Closing Ceremony. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

A check of the current temperature in Beijing will tell you it is below freezing, not that Nathan Crumpton seems to care.

Flanked by flagbearers in wooly hats and puffy coats, the 36-year-old American Samoan skeleton rider mimicked his bare-chested opening ceremony outfit in the closing show.

Crumpton received viral acclaim following the opening ceremony earlier this month, carrying the flag into the stadium as American Samoa's sole athlete -- amidst icy temperatures of -5°C -- with just a layer of oil to keep him warm.

He placed 19th in the men's skeleton on February 11, the event won by Germany's Christopher Grotheer.

7:47 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Final medal ceremonies take place inside the stadium

From left, the United States' Jessie Diggins, Norway's Therese Johaug and Finland's Kerttu Niskanen celebrate during the medal ceremony for the women's cross-country 30k mass start event.
From left, the United States' Jessie Diggins, Norway's Therese Johaug and Finland's Kerttu Niskanen celebrate during the medal ceremony for the women's cross-country 30k mass start event. (Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

The medal ceremonies for the women's cross-country 30km mass start free event and the men's 50km mass start free event are now taking place inside the stadium.

It's quite a moment for Norway's Therese Johaug and the Russian Olympic Committee's Alexander Bolshunov who have the eyes of the world on them as they pick up their respective gold medals.

Both these events took place in bitterly harsh conditions but it'll all be worth it now.

The anthem's ring around the stadium amid beaming smiles and a tear or two.

7:22 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Carnival atmosphere as athletes enter the stadium

By CNN's Ben Church

Flag bearers makes their way into Beijing National Stadium during the Closing Ceremony.
Flag bearers makes their way into Beijing National Stadium during the Closing Ceremony. (Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Those athletes still in Beijing are making their way into the stadium now and are creating a carnival atmosphere in the National Stadium

Unlike the Opening Ceremony, all the delegations come out quickly after one another and there is a palpable sense of relief.

Whether they won a medal or crashed out early, all those on stage can say they competed at a Winter Games and won't forget the past two weeks in a hurry.

Flags are waving and we can only assume smiles are beaming across faces behind those masks.

7:26 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Last minute Olympic pin trading heats up as Beijing 2022 comes to an end 

From CNN's Bex Wright

Trading and collecting pins has been hugely popular at the Beijing Winter Olympics, with volunteers, athletes and media all battling to get the best collection before the Games end.

Displaying the pin collection on the lanyard which holds the Olympic accreditation ID is a way to invite others to trade.

Curating the best collection means a variety of team pins, official volunteer pins and media company pins.

The trading is always popular at the Olympics, but it seems to have taken off even more in Beijing -- perhaps because of the limited social interactions due to the restrictions within the closed loop.

The rarest team pins are the most sought after, with Saudi Arabia and Haiti among the favorites, given they only have one athlete from each country at the Games as both countries make their Winter Olympic debut in 2022.

Norway’s was also in demand, given the country topped the medal table at the Games.

Topical pins are also popular, including the Russian Olympic Committee pin, a nod to the news headlines of the Games that have been dominated by the controversy around the positive drugs test by 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva.

For a rare or sought-after pin, people often offer multiple pins in return. 

There are etiquette rules to pin trading which are displayed on a white board at the Main Media Centre (MMC) in Beijing. All pins should be Olympic-related, and any exchanges should be “voluntary and friendly.”

In the last week of the Games, the Beijing 2022 volunteers in particular have begun hustling to improve their collections, approaching anyone wearing a pin collection to request pins or to trade them.

The gold and red CNN pins were very popular, with some athletes saying that is because CNN is the only English news channel available on the hotel televisions within the bubble.

7:12 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and IOC President Thomas Bach receive warm welcome

From CNN's Ben Church

China's President Xi Jinping is seen on a screen during the Closing Ceremony on February 20.
China's President Xi Jinping is seen on a screen during the Closing Ceremony on February 20.  (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

China President Xi Jinping and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach are introduced to the crowd who give them a rapturous welcome.

Both will be relieved at the relative success of this year's Games which was staged in a strict bubble amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The flag of China is raised to the soundtrack of the national anthem as more dancing gets underway on the vast stage.

7:08 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Beijing 2022 is saying goodbye to Winter Olympics

From CNN's Ben Church

The Olympic flag flies in Beijing National Stadium on February 20.
The Olympic flag flies in Beijing National Stadium on February 20. (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

After 16 days of competition, 109 gold medals and more than one controversial moment, Beijing 2022 is officially coming to a conclusion.

The National Stadium, commonly known as the Bird's Nest, is hosting the Closing Ceremony as China waves goodbye to the Winter Games.

With the pandemic and political tensions posing a threat before and during competition, the sport has been reasonably unscathed.

Now is time to remember the highs and lows and look forward to the next Winter Games in Milan and Cortina, Italy.  

The crowd in the stadium is getting warmed up, so settle in for light shows and ever-enthusiastic dancing.

6:24 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Wine, ugly crying and Superman: the best quotes of Beijing 2022

From CNN's Jack Bantock

Amongst the thrills and spills of Beijing 2022, there's been some sound bites deserving of gold medals.

As competition wraps up and eyes turn towards the Closing Ceremony, here's the best quotes from this year's Winter Games.

“I had a glass of wine before the super-G with Loic Meillard and Luca Aerni and after the super-G they wrote on my door, ‘Drink wine: ski fast’. So I drank a glass of wine with them again, of course.”

An unorthodox race preparation for Swiss skier Michelle Gisin, who won gold in the women's alpine combined after a glass of wine with her teammates the day before.

“He is really relaxed, after yesterday he drank two beers.”

What is going on in the world of skiing sports science and nutrition? Austrian gold medalist Alpine skier Matthias Mayer's coach Sepp Brunner giving more weight to the alcohol-based approach.

“You feel like Superman, you’re just flying.”

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Team USA's monobob gold medalist Kaillie Humphries.

“When you’re a professional athlete in a sport that sucks as much as speed skating sucks, you’ve got to find a way to make it suck a little less.”

A double gold medalist in Beijing, imagine what Sweden's Nils van der Poel could achieve in a sport that he loved.

“Snowboarding, thank you. It’s been the love of my life... Sorry you’re going to get me ugly crying here.”

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White ended a legendary career in Beijing, crashing out on his final run.

“I’m gay ... and to be out and proud, competing at the Olympics and all of the opportunities that have come my way since the Olympics, I couldn’t be more thankful.”

Once a silver medalist for the USA, Team GB freestyle skier and pop-culture celebrity Gus Kenworthy reflected on a landmark third and final Games.

Read more here.