Each time the Olympic games come to a close, it's hard not to wish they would have lasted just a bit longer. Roughly two weeks is barely enough time to admire (not to mention be inspired by) humans' incredible capabilities in the world of athletics. Still, on Feb. 25, audiences around the world will have to wave goodbye. It might be the national teams' final night in PyeongChang, but considering how long the 2018 Olympics Closing Ceremony is expected to be, the games will surely end on a memorable high note.
The PyeongChang Olympics' official site scheduled the ceremony to run from 20:00 until 22:00 KST, or 6 a.m. until 8 a.m. EST. Looking at past games though, it certainly could have been lengthier. The closing ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for example, lasted just short of three hours. And two years prior, the closing ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia had a duration of about 2 hours and 57 minutes. Similarly, the closing ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England clocked in at around three hours and 20 minutes long. So, it looks like somewhere around the three-hour-mark has been the magic number in years past.
A lot can happen in three-ish hours, and in the past, it's all been tied together by one common theme. For example, during the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the closing ceremonies director, Leonardo Caetano, sought to emphasize Brazilian culture and share it with the world. He told CNN,
I think the main characteristic of the closing ceremony is that it's a celebration. It's a celebration of the wonderful weeks we have lived, it's a celebration of the Brazilian culture, of the way we do things. Many of the elements of the opening ceremony will be seen again. We don't want to give any spoilers, but some characters come back.
The people planning 2018's ceremonies have been working on it for years now. Back in April 2015 during a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) dropped a hint about the big events.
POCOG has formed the International Consulting Committee comprised of international experts who will work closely with domestic artists to showcase the cultural capacity of the host country and city in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Preparation has started in earnest.
TIME reported that PyeongChang Director of Ceremonies Oh Jang-hwan described the closing ceremony theme on the official Olympics website. Above all, it sounds like it'll emphasize lightheartedness and celebration.
The theme for the Closing Ceremony is “Next Wave.” It will have a festival atmosphere to recognize and celebrate the athletes’ hard work and achievements at the Games. We have created a show that looks towards the future; it includes quite a lot of traditional Korean humor and fun elements to add to the party feel.
The closing ceremony isn't the only thing happening on Feb. 25. Bobsled, cross-country skiing, curling, and ice hockey competitions will also be taking place that day and medals will be awarded. And if you considered planning to be in town to witness the games for yourself, you know tickets to the closing ceremony were pretty expensive. Admission to the closing ceremony ranges anywhere from about $400 to nearly $900. But if you aren't in South Korea or simply aren't willing to dole out that kind of cash, there's a bright side: you won't have to deal with the cold weather. The comfort of your couch might just actually be preferable.