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Spectators enjoy big party at Beijing Olympics closing ceremony
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Wearing a Qing-Dynasty style hat, Russian sportscaster Igor Shvetsov had a big smile on his face when he walked out of the National Stadium after the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on Sunday.

He felt relaxed, partly for finishing his work, and partly because of the carnival-like ceremony.

Asked which part he liked most, the answer was "the entire one".

"It's so well-arranged that you cannot divide it up," said Shvetsov.

However, Marcela Saxlumd from Uruguay had her favorite part. She was deeply impressed by the "Memory Tower", on which the performers simulated the flame with their bodies after the Olympic flame went out.

"It's original, and I like it very much," she said.

Saxlumd said it implicated that the Olympic flame and spirit would be kept in people's mind forever.

"The Beijing Olympics is a great memory for me," she added.

Bob Bassett, a businessman from San Francisco, felt the same way.

Bassett came to Beijing with his friends, watched the men's soccer final and track and fields events, visited famous Laoshe Teahouse, listened to Peking Opera and tasted traditional Beijing food during his five-day trip.

He said the word "exceptional", which International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge tagged to the Beijing Olympics, was quite appropriate.

"It's exceptional. It's awesome," he said.

He enjoyed the closing ceremony as well.

"I like the beginning, the fireworks and the performance," said the 55-year-old, joking that if there weren't a lot of flag-raisings, it would be more interesting.

The closing ceremony was totally different from the opening, Bassett said, "It's like a big party."

The organizers had revealed that compared with the opening ceremony, the closing was more like a carnival for athletes and spectators.

It's true.

When the athletes walked into the Bird's Nest, they kissed the camera lens, took pictures and walked around to talk with each other. Many of them were attracted by Chinese basketball player Yao Ming, who stood tallest. One Canadian athlete sat on his teammate's shoulder and shook hands with the 2.26m Houston Rockets center.

Inspired by the joyous atmosphere, a shop assistant in the stadium moved his body to the rhythm of the music.

"It's like a festival. I enjoyed it," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2008)


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