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
37 Posts
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10:52 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Memorable moments from Beijing 2022

From CNN's Scottie Andrew and Ben Church

China's Eileen Gu competes during the women's halfpipe finals on Friday, February 18.
China's Eileen Gu competes during the women's halfpipe finals on Friday, February 18. (Gregory Bull/AP)

Now that Beijing 2022 has come to a close, it's time to look back on its high and lows.

From hard-won victories to heartbreaking disappointments, the 24th Winter Games will be one to remember for both the right, and wrong, reasons.

The Kamila Valieva doping scandal dominated the headlines for much of the competition but don't forget the success stories from some of the world's best athletes.

Norway cemented its dominance in winter sports and the new generation of stars broke through on the biggest stage, including China's freeski sensation Eileen Gu.

You can find all the flashpoints from Beijing 2022 here.

10:01 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Vincent Zhou barred from Closing Ceremony after being flagged as a Covid "close contact risk"

From CNN's Maija Ehlinger

US figure skater Vincent Zhou took to Instagram to say he was not allowed to march in Sunday’s Closing Ceremony because he was flagged as a Covid “close contact risk.” 

Zhou tested positive for Covid on Tuesday, February 7, and missed competing in the men’s single skating short program competition.

“I have tested negative 14 times in a row. I have antibodies and am not contagious whatsoever. I am 100% healthy and normal. I am double masked and would be walking outdoors with the same people I am about to travel with in a couple of hours. I would be the least at risk of transmitting to others,” Zhou wrote on his personal Instagram account. 

Zhou, who skated in the Exhibition Gala earlier in the day, also wrote that he was required to take off his mask while on the ice with 40 other people during the gala.

“But it seems that being double masked outdoors is riskier,” he added.

“I have followed the rules and done as required with no question for as long as the rules have existed.” 

The official Playbook for the Beijing Olympic games states that athletes who return to the Games after a period of isolation due to Covid will be “asked to adopt additional countermeasures that apply to close contacts.” 

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated figure skater Vincent Zhou’s affiliation. He skates for the US.

9:29 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

'You are gold': Queen's Guard serenade victorious GB curlers with Spandau Ballet

From CNN's Jack Bantock

'You've got the power to know, you're indestructible, always believe in'

Great Britain has had to wait a while for a gold medal to materialize in Beijing, but has wasted no time in celebrating when it finally arrived on Sunday.

After the women's curling team beat Japan to secure Team GB's first Olympic gold in the event in 20 years, the Queen's Guard took to the grounds of Buckingham Palace to honor their triumph with a rendition of Spandau Ballet's 'Gold'.

"What a fantastic end to Beijing 2022," read a tweet from the official Royal Family account.

9:01 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Impressive firework display brings Closing Ceremony to an end

From CNN's Ben Church

Fireworks explode over Beijing National Stadium during the Closing Ceremony.
Fireworks explode over Beijing National Stadium during the Closing Ceremony. (Maja Hitii/Getty Images)

China knows a thing or two about fireworks.

An amazing 90-second display lights up the Beijing sky as the Olympic flame is extinguished inside the stadium.

The fireworks are supposedly non-toxic and environmentally friendly but no less impressive.

And that's that for Beijing 2022.

Over two weeks of elite competition -- full of highs and lows -- has come to an end. Let's do it all again in just two years time when Paris hosts the Summer Games in 2024.

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.