2008 Summer Olympic Games

Season 1 Episode 17

Day 16 and Closing Ceremony

0
Aired Daily 8:00 PM Aug 24, 2008 on NBC
9.7
out of 10
User Rating
5 votes
2

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Episode Summary

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Day 16 and Closing Ceremony
AIRED:
On Day 16, the final day of the 2008 Summer Olympics, finals will be held in basketball, boxing, handball, rhythmic gymnastics, track and field, volleyball, and water polo. In daytime coverage, NBC aired recaps of the highlights of the track & field, swimming and women's gymnastics competitions. The Games of the XXIX Olympiad finish with the Closing Ceremony and the Beijing Olympics Closing Party.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • The end of the 2008 Olympics.

    8.8
    What can you say about the 2008 Olympics? There were history-making runs, classic games, and all the controversy you can hope for with an international affair. There were some low points, but it was nothing too major and nothing that left too much of a sour taste in my mouth. Once again the United States of America dominated and created new heroes in the process, as well as re-establishing its worship of past successes like Michael Phelps, Misty May-Treanor, US basketball and more. We had referees beaten up, fans booing and a couple of funny accident (see the guy that dropped all that weight).



    On the finale we had a great basketball game between the US and Spain. Spain gave it everything they had but in the end the Americans were just too much. And so are my reviews, so I'll wrap this up.moreless
  • A short schedule of events on this, the final day of the Beijing Olympic Games, but the Closing Ceremony provided more breathtaking and awe-inspiring images of art and arresting images on an epic scale.moreless

    9.6
    The final day of the Beijing Olympic Games had only a few gold medal matches on the schedule before the Closing Ceremony providing the finishing touches to a grand 17 days of athletic achievement, new world records, new milestones in Olympic history and grand spectacle.



    Water polo



    The U.S. has not won an Olympic gold medal in water polo in over 100 years. The only gold medal they won came in the 1904 St. Louis Games when all three competing teams were from the United States. The U.S. had not won any medal in men's water polo since 1988. On the other side of the coin, Hungary is the dominant team in men's water polo with 8 gold medals in the 24 Olympic tournaments. They are also the two-time defending Olympic champion with gold medals in 2004 in Athens and in 2000 in Sydney. Hungary won a hard-fought match against the U.S. team, making it three consecutive Olympic gold medals for the country where water polo is the national sport.



    NBC aired overviews and highlights from track & field, swimming and gymnastics competitions in Beijing.



    Men's basketball



    The gold medal game in men's basketball was televised live at 2:30 am in the U.S. (Eastern Time Zone). The U.S. "Redeem Team" (so named because of the failure of the U.S. men to win a single international basketball tournament in 8 years despite the presence of NBA stars on the 2002, 2004 and 2006 teams) beat Spain to win the gold medal for the first time since the 2000 Sydney Games. After the medal ceremony, the players draped their gold medals around the neck of coach Mike Krzyzewski to show their appreciation for his efforts to shape these NBA stars into a cohesive team. Coaches don't receive medals, only the players.



    Boxing:

    China wins its first gold medal in boxing ever in the men's lightweight flyweight division (48 kg/106 lbs) with Zou Shiming winning after his opponent Serdamba Purevdorj of Mongolia withdrew in the second round because of a shoulder injury. China also won a second gold medal in the boxing tournament.



    Jimmy Roberts narrated a story about Right to Play, created by Johann Olav Koss. The charity uses sport and play to help children in the poorest regions of the world. Right to Play now has a $30 million annual budget. Koss is one of the most widely respected Olympic athletes, both for his charity work and for his success on the rink. He has won four Winter Olympic gold medals for Norway in speedskating.



    Part 2 of the interview with Jacques Rogge, IOC President



    Regarding the elimination of softball and baseball, Rogge said that softball was unfairly tainted by association with the steroids scandal of baseball (MLB). There was also some concern of the domination of the U.S. in previous Olympics, although the U.S. women lost to Japan this time around. Seven sports are applying to be included in the 2016 Games. Two will be accepted. Baseball will have a tough time returning to the Olympics unless major league stars are allowed to play.



    Rogge and Costas agreed that Usain Bolt disrespected his opponents in the 100m dash. However, Bolt tried to make up for his poor sportsmanship by donating $50,000 to victims of the Sichuan earthquake. Rogge and Costas were both disappointed by his "catch me if you can" gesture. Bolt got the message and was more respectful after the 4 x 100m relay.



    Rogge's favorite moment of the Games was Roger Federer of Switzerland winning the men's tennis doubles gold medal. Costas suggested that Rogge could invite Federer on a tour of the IOC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Rogge said it would be on his program.



    Rhythmic gymnastics, group all-around final



    Russia was the favorite going into the final while China had never won an Olympic medal in the sport.

    Russia won the gold as expected but China won the silver. Belarus won the bronze.



    Men's volleyball:



    The U.S. won the gold medal, providing a silver lining to these Olympics for the team and their coach. The parents of coach Hugh McCutcheon's wife were attacked early in the Olympics at the famous Drum Tower. The deranged individual killed his father-in-law and attacked his mother-in-law before committing suicide.



    General notes about the Beijing Games



    A total of 302 gold medals were awarded in the 2008 Beijing Games. 204 countries participated, the most ever. 87 countries won at least one medal, also the most ever.



    China won just 63 total medals in Athens at the 2004 Summer Olympics. They increased their total to 100 in Beijing. They also won the most gold medals of any country, 51. These Games mark the rise of China as a dominant power in international sports. For decades the Chinese did not even participate in the Olympics. For some time after, they won relatively few medals. It is only in recent Olympics that they have transformed themselves into a sports power.



    China spent an estimated $40 billion on the Beijing Olympics, a number unlikely to be surpassed in quite some time, if ever.



    Closing Ceremony



    Film director Zhang Yimou directed the Closing Ceremony as well as the spectacular Opening Ceremony.



    The medal ceremony for the men's marathon was held at the Closing Ceremony as is the usual Olympic tradition. The Kenyan national anthem was played before a crowd of over 91,000.



    The Closing Ceremony opened with another spectacular show but as is the norm for Closing Ceremonies, the program was shorter and the parade of athletes was more informal. All the athletes walked into the stadium together without the formality of the Parade of Nations in the Opening Ceremony.



    The drumming performance was breathtaking again, as were the space-age rotating bicycle-type wheels driven by performers. IOC President Jacques Rogge declared the Games of the XXIX Olympiad to be closed. He called on the youth of the world to meet again in four years in London, England, for the Games of the XXX Olympiad.



    The mayors of Beijing and London symbolized the handing over of the Olympics with a waving of the Olympic flag. The Closing Ceremony continued with a brief presentation of British and London culture, led off with a red double-decker bus. A Chinese-Malaysian girl handed over a soccer ball to an Indian-British girl who got off the bus.



    The bus opened up like a lotus flower to reveal a green representation of the British skyline. Then British pop star Leona Lewis rose up from the center of the green sculpture and began singing. Jimmy Page from the famed British rock group Led Zeppelin played the guitar as Leona Lewis sang the Led Zeppelin song "Whole Lotta Love."



    David Beckham also appeared from the bus and received the soccer ball from the young girl. He kicked the ball into the crowd of athletes. A lucky female Japanese athlete caught the soccer ball. The umbrellas revealed a light show along the side of the bus as it rolled off and out of the center of the stadium.



    Some actors performing as athletes said their goodbyes and climbed up a sky walkway as if to board a plane. The upper ribbon of the stadium showed images of a plane taxiing on the runway. Images of each day of the Beijing Games were then displayed on the screens along the upper part of the Bird's Nest as two performers painted in white posed atop the Memory Tower. A children's choir sang as the images faded away. The flame dimmed and was extinguished.



    Nearly 400 performers on the Memory Tower swayed along the entire structure as a human representation of the Olympic flame, to symbolize the continuation of the Olympic experience in the memory of all the participants and observers. The performers created a living representation of flowers that opened up and swayed as if in the wind. The performers created a spiral shape mimicking the Olympic flame. Then 16 individuals raised strips of fabric to the top of the Tower. The bottom of the strips were raised to the top of the stadium to reveal the logo of the Beijing Games, the stylized line drawing of an athlete running. The top of the Bird's Nest lit up in another impressive fireworks display. (Hopefully all of those were filmed live although one shot appeared to be superimposed again as they were during the broadcast of the Opening Ceremony.)



    A group of pop singers and drummers began singing "Beijing, Beijing, I Love Beijing" in the more light-hearted part of the program. A slower song, "To Overcome," was accompanied by performers suspended from the top of the stadium on wires. They were outfitted in blue jumpsuits with rows of small white lights and helmets.



    In the next song, the acrobats climbed the Tower while a surprise performer joined the singers -- Jackie Chan, the well-known actor. He had a microphone and sang along with the other singers.



    The BBC showed an outdoor ceremony welcoming Michael Phelps to London. Phelps confirmed that he will continue to swim and train so that he can compete in the 2012 London Games. The Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, flew by, releasing clouds of red, white and blue smoke, the colors of the British flag.



    NBC interspersed coverage of the Closing Ceremony with rebroadcasts of memorable moments from the Beijing Games. Among these highlights were Jason Lezak's incredible come-from-behind performance in the men's 4 x 100m freestyle swimming relay, Michael Phelps' come-from-behind victory in the 100m butterfly in which his margin of victory was one-hundredth of a second, Usain Bolt's record-setting 100m dash victory, and gold medal-winning performances from U.S. gymnasts Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson.



    Cris Collinsworth spoke about his most memorable moments at the Games. Those included sitting in the stands with Debbie Phelps (Michael Phelps' mother) as Phelps won one of his early events, walking through the Olympic Green and meeting regular Chinese citizens, and watching Natalie du Toit of South Africa compete in and finish the women's open water swimming 10km marathon. Natalie had her left leg amputated at the knee when a car struck her scooter seven years ago. She qualified for the Olympics and swam in the Olympic race with no prosthetic devices. Truly an inspiration to everyone.



    Bob Costas closed out the final 2008 Olympic broadcast by noting the records, the awesome Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the rich character of the people of Beijing.



    Despite the concerns about the repression and foreign policy of the central Chinese government, most fans were able to recognize that the Games were about the athletes and the gathering of people from all corners of the world to compete peacefully on athletic fields and in the water. Cris Collinsworth marveled at the fact that so many people from so many different cultures could meet in one place and battle each other only in sport. He said that maybe it was a pie-in-the-sky dream but if people can compete peacefully and learn about other cultures for two weeks, why not for three weeks? And so on.



    Perhaps that's just a dream, an ideal, but that's what the Olympics are about. Even if they do not change the world, their very existence provides a glimmer of hope. For at least one brief moment, nations interact peacefully in a mostly civilized manner (except for people like the Cuban taekwondo athlete who intentionally kicked the judge in the face this weekend). For many, just that fact means something. It means a lot. And the Olympics do it in a manner that provides many thrilling moments of athletic achievement. I'm looking forward to 2012, when the next Summer Olympic Games begin, in London. Oh, and there's also the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. That should be a great show too. Hope you tune in then. I will.moreless
Bob Costas

Bob Costas

Primetime Host

Jim Lampley

Jim Lampley

Anchor - Afternoon Telecasts

Mary Carillo

Mary Carillo

Host - Late Night Telecasts, Olympic Correspondent

Alex Flanagan

Alex Flanagan

Host - CNBC and USA Network telecasts

Matt Vasgersian

Matt Vasgersian

Host - USA Network telecasts

Melissa Stark

Melissa Stark

Anchor - MSNBC telecasts

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps

 

Guest Star

Shawn Johnson

Shawn Johnson

Herself

Guest Star

Joshua Cooper Ramo

Joshua Cooper Ramo

Commentator

Guest Star

Andrea Joyce

Andrea Joyce

Reporter

Recurring Role

Marty Snider

Marty Snider

Reporter

Recurring Role

Jacques Rogge

Jacques Rogge

Himself

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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