Flame is extinguished, but spirit lights up night

February 24, 1992

So, who needs an Olympic flame?

The extinguishing of the flame signified the start of an explosion of fireworks, music and dance, as the 16th Winter Olympics drew to a rousing close last night.

The skies above the Savoy were ablaze with color -- indeed, the night turned into day -- as this mountain region bid au revoir to the world and its athletes, most of whom danced far into the night.

Before the party, there was, of course, some protocol, although it took a mighty effort by the organizers to clear the stadium floor of parading volunteers to get things under way.

Bells pealed to signify the opening of the official program. As ice dancers whirled, the evening's emcee entered on a ski lift rigged above the arena. His first order of business, of course, was to introduce the athletes.

The flag bearers entered, accompanied by the human snow globes featured in the opening ceremony. Speed skater Bonnie Blair, who won two gold medals, carried the U.S. flag.

And then came the rest of the athletes, streaming into the stadium in carefree fashion, in stark contrast to their formal marching in the opening ceremony. The Italians waved flags. The Dutch formed a conga line and then pretended to be in-line speed skaters. The Canadians tossed Frisbees and trinkets to the crowd as they entered and even took over the stage for a short time so three athletes could do back flips. Well, two of three, anyway.

Once the athletes finally -- reluctantly -- made it to their seats, the business of the closing of the Games was conducted. First, there was the traditional Greek anthem, then the French anthem, then the Norwegian anthem, in honor of the 1994 Games in Lillehammer and finally the Olympic anthem.

The Olympic flag was passed from the mayor of Albertville to the mayor of Lillehammer, followed by an almost operatic scene featuring a Nordic queen on a white bear leading a viking ship. Music rolled like thunder, and popping flashbulbs provided the lightning.

As the announcer intoned, "See you in 1994," a huge, lighted "Lillehammer 1994" sign appeared over the entrance to the stadium.

Service for Bochatay

A memorial service was held in the church at the athletes' village in Brides-les-Bains for Nicolas Bochatay, a Swiss speed skier killed when he crashed into a ski trail-grooming machine.

Among those attending the service were Swiss athletes, coaches and officials, French figure skater Paul Duschesnay, Brides-les-Bains Mayor Jean Francois Chedal and former French ski star Perrine Pelen-Mazzega, manager of the athletes' village.

Jean-Claude Killy, co-president of the organizing committee, also paid tribute to Bochatay during a news conference.

National police are investigating Saturday's accident. Organizing committee officials said they had no details of the probe.

Bochatay and other competitors were skiing on an easy trail adjacent to the event track. Bochatay skied over a mogul and crashed into the snow-grooming vehicle.

The Swiss said the vehicle was parked. The organizers said it was moving with its light flashing and siren blaring.

Pinning it down

More than 350,000 people traded more than 1 million pins at official pin centers during the Winter Olympics, according to the company that ran the centers.

A release from the Coca-Cola Co., said that the hottest pins included U.S. ice hockey pins and any figure skating pin.

Also coveted were pins by the new teams competing in the Winter Games from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Croatia.

An especially hard-to-get pin was a Dream Team, issued by the NBA in preparation for the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

Wylie gets spirit award

Paul Wylie, the surprise runner-up in men's figure skating, received the U.S. Olympic Spirit Award and said the award capped "the most exciting three weeks of my life."

"The power of the Olympics, where people from all countries can stand in the rink and hold hands and bow to the audience, is very special," he said. "I could feel the electricity pass through my hands."

The award, voted by members of the U.S. media, is given to the athlete who exceeded expectations going into the Games.

"Paul Wylie exemplifies the indomitable spirit of the United States' Olympic athletes," said George Morris, president of Maxwell House Coffee Co., the sponsor of the award.

The quote

"I'll be nearly 28, an old man, by the next Olympics, but no doubt I will be among the starters in 1994. I want to add another Olympic medal to my record. I miss the bronze in my collection, but I would love to end my Olympic streak with another gold." -- Downhill skier Alberto Tomba on his aspirations for the 1994 Winter Games

Medals table

(Final)

Nation.. .. .. .. ..G.. .. .. ..S.. .. .. .B.. .. .. . Tot

Germany.. .. .. ...10.. .. .. .10.. .. .. .6.. .. .. .. 26

Unified Team.. .. ..9.. .. .. ..6.. .. .. .8.. .. .. .. 23

Austria.. .. .. ... 6.. .. .. . 7.. .. ... 8.. .. .. .. 21

Norway.. .. .. .. ..9.. .. .. ..6.. .. .. .5.. .. .. .. 20

Italy.. .. .. .. .. 4.. .. .. ..6.. .. .. .4.. .. .. .. 14

United States.. .. .5.. .. .. ..4.. .. .. .2.. .. .. ...11

France .. .. .. .. .3.. .. .. ..5.. .. .. .1.. .. .. .. .9

Canada.. .. .. .. ..2.. .. .. ..3.. .. .. .2.. .. .. .. .7

Finland .. .. .. .. 3.. .. .. ..1.. .. .. .3... .. .. .. 7

Japan.. .. .. .. ...1.. .. .. ..2.. .. .. .4.. .. .. ... 7

South Korea.. .. .. 2.. .. .. ..1.. .. .. .1.. .. .. .. .4

The Netherlands.. ..1.. .. .. ..1.. .. .. .2.. .. .. .. .4

Sweden.. .. .. .. ..1.. .. .. ..0.. .. .. .3.. .. .. .. .4

Switzerland.. .. ...1.. .. .. ..0.. .. .. .2.. .. .. .. .3

China.. .. .. .. .. 0.. .. .. ..3.. .. .. .0.. .. .. .. .3

Luxembourg.. .. .. .0.. .. .. ..2.. .. .. .0.. .. .. .. .2

Czechoslovakia.. .. 0.. .. .. . 0.. .. .. .2.. .. .. .. .2

New Zealand.. .. .. 0.. .. .. ..1.. .. .. .0.. .. .. .. .1

North Korea.. .. .. 0.. .. .. ..0.. .. .. .1.. .. .. .. .1

Spain.. .. .. .. .. 0.. .. .. ..0.. .. .. .1.. .. .. .. .1

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