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Barb's Olympic Adventure Continues
Posting 11: The Closing Ceremony

Curriculum CenterBarbara Taddeo is at the Olympic Games -- and she is sharing the experience with Education World readers! Taddeo, a middle school special education teacher from San Mateo, California, will share her observations -- and some activities too. Follow Taddeo's journey through her reports from Sydney!


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More medal ceremonies take place as we move closer to the final days of the Olympics. Everyone here looks to the close of the Games with excitement and sadness.

After the completion of the medal rounds in some sports (for example, gymnastics), the athletes give special performances in their sport. The athletes love this event because they can perform whatever routine they want to do and they can relax while doing it. They have as good a time as the audience does!

FIREWORKS PREVIEW

Everyone is talking about the closing ceremony. This event is top-secret; no one know what will be included in the ceremony except for the performers! What the rest of us do know is that part of the program will be presented by Greece, the host country for the 2004 Olympics. (Australia presented part of the closing ceremony of the Atlanta Games in 1996.) This segment helps the next host country showcase some of the events to come in the next Games. At this event, the mascot of the 2004 Games will be introduced to the world.

One thing that we have been told by the Australians is that the fireworks presentation for the closing ceremony is going to be wonderful! The Australians are known for their terrific firework displays. Do any of you remember their fireworks presentation for January 1, 2000? In that presentation, the fireworks lit the entire harbor. People who saw it told me the noise was deafening and displays were spectacular. The entire bridge was also lit with fireworks.

We have been told that the fireworks displays for the Olympics will be even bigger. The display will include a river of fire, which will be accomplished by lighting barges on fire in the river leading from Homebush, where the Olympic stadium in located, to the Harbour Bridge. A jet will fly overhead, lighting the fire with explosives!

When the fire reaches the harbor, the fireworks will begin. The fireworks display will stretch the entire route of the river of fire.

I mentioned before that I saw the lighting of the Olympic rings. The rings on the bridge were lit at the start of the Games when the Olympic torch arrived at the Opera house. At the closing ceremony, these rings will burst into their own fireworks display!

I went downtown this morning before going to the horse park. There I saw workers putting the fireworks in place. I bought my ticket; I will be on the water for the celebration. I can hardly wait! It will be the biggest fireworks display I have ever seen in my life! The Olympic committee has said this will be the biggest fireworks display in Australian history.

CLOSING CEREMONY PREVIEW

The closing ceremony is a very special program. There are specific things written in the Olympic charter that must be accomplished by the host city for the present Games and by the host city for the next the Olympics. When the closing ceremony starts, the athletes march in as one behind the Olympic flag. The athletes are then seated in the stands not as nations but as a large group.

oint out to your students an interesting footnote to the athletes coming together as one group at the closing ceremony. A little boy wrote to the Olympic committee after the 1956 Melbourne Games and asked why the athletes walked in to the stadium at the closing ceremony under their countries' flags again when all during the Olympics they are told that they are competing under the Olympic flag. Because of his suggestion, the Olympic charter was changed so that all the athletes enter the Olympic stadium under the Olympic flag.

So often, students feel that they cannot change anything in their communities or in the rest of the world. This is a perfect example that they can with just one letter, as did this little boy.

During the ceremony, the huge Olympic flag is lowered and passed from the mayor of the host city to the mayor of the new city. Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Truce Foundation and International Olympic Committee President, will make a speech declaring the Games ended and that "we will meet again in four years in Athens." Then the flame is extinguished.

At this point, the new host city officially takes over and the performance by Athens begins. At the conclusion of the ceremony, all of the athletes are invited to come down onto the field and watch the start of the fireworks display.

Teachers: I hope this description of the closing ceremony will spark discussions in your classroom about special ceremonies that take place in your community. Have your students discuss ways they can take part in these celebrations.

EQUESTRIAN UPDATES

At the end of a very long day, the team from Germany won the gold medal in the show jumping event. The teams from Switzerland and Brazil won the silver and bronze, respectively. There was a "jump off" for the third and fourth place positions, which Brazil won. (A jump off is a contest where the riders must complete a shortened course in the shortest amount of time. Each team starts with two riders. Each rider takes a turn. Whoever knocks a pole off of the jump loses. Today there were five rounds before the team from France lost. You should have seen all of the Brazilians celebrating in the stands. It was exciting to watch!

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Barbara Taddeo has created these activities for the students of three schools -- but she has been kind enough to agree to share her daily reports with Education World's readers. We're pleased to be included in these daily mailings to the students in Taddeo's 7th grade class in Room 31 at Borel Middle School in San Mateo, California; Mrs. Hirschmann's class at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Turersville, New Jersey; and Lacey Rhoades' class in Mesa, Arizona.

Barbara Taddeo
Education World®
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09/28/2000