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Vancouver 2010 Games Closing Ceremony Spoofs Canada

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Following 17 days of competition the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games ended Sunday with a Closing Ceremony that spoofed the host country.

During the ceremony there was an elaborate and deliberately over-the-top musical routine that highlighted Canadian Michael Buble in a swinging rendition of The Maple Leaf Forever, joined by singing and dancing performers portraying Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), tabletop hockey players, voyageurs, lumberjacks, dancing canoes, flying maple leafs, giant inflatable beavers and moose, as well as a motorized Stetson hat in homage to the traditional RCMP uniform - all Canadian stereotypes.

The Opening Ceremony began with more than one thousand young British Columbia students chanting "Vancouver" and slamming down their snowboards like dominoes to form the countdown numbers and the iconic words "strong and free" from Oh Canada.

Then more than 2,600 Olympians who competed at the Games entered the stadium together as "one nation of athletes".

John Furlong, CEO of Vancouver 2010 said, "I believe we Canadians tonight are stronger, more united, more in love with our country, and more connected with each other than ever before. These Olympic Games have lifted us up. That quiet, humble national pride we were sometimes reluctant to acknowledge seemed to take to the streets as the most beautiful kind of patriotism broke out all across our country".

The Ceremony featured the official handover of the Olympic flag by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson to Sochi's Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov. Sochi's portion of the Closing Ceremony showcased the best of Russian culture and sport, a live orchestral performance from Red Square led by maestro Valery Gergiev in Vancouver, and members of the Bolshoi and Kirov ballets, as well as opera singer Mariya Gulegina performing on a stylized troika or three-horse Russian sleigh, encased in a glowing white zorb.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge thanked the people of Canada "for your generous hospitality, your warmth, and this unique and joyous celebration of Olympism", as he declared the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games closed.

To the music of Canadian legend Neil Young, the Olympic Cauldron flickered and was extinguished by falling snow in BC Place. Outside at the legacy cauldron located along the Vancouver waterfront it was simultaneously extinguished.

Three of Canada's famous actors, William Shatner, Catherine O'Hara and Michael J. Fox also participated.

There were performances by Canadians Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morissette, and the rock band Nickelback.

Now that the Olympic Games are over there's anticipation for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games that take place March 12 to 21.

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