“The Closing Ceremony really is an exclamation point on the most thrilling, stressful and fulfilling three weeks of your life.” – Tara Lipinski
“It was always our dream as a family to make it to the Olympics. It is something more than a competition.” – Lindsey Vonn
STAMFORD, Conn. – February 25, 2018 – Following are notes and quotes from tonight’s primetime coverage of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games from PyeongChang, South Korea, the final day of the Games, which was highlighted by the Closing Ceremony, hosted by NBC Olympics’ figure skating team of Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir, and Terry Gannon.
Following are notes and quotes from tonight’s coverage:
NBC Olympics’ primetime host Mike Tirico: “These Games came at a time where America has been described as divided – voices loud, emotions raw, and feelings deep. Scenes of sorrow and sadness from Florida, last week, impacted Americans everywhere. Sports, games, can’t truly rectify real world problems. But perhaps in the last two-and-a-half weeks, the Olympics have given people a reason to smile, and even deeper, showed that there is still great reason to find hope in humanity.”
Tirico on North Korea and South Korea: “Right from the start with that powerful symbol of reconciliation at the Opening Ceremony, both Koreas marching in together, there seemed to be a halo of sorts over everything to follow, including the joint Korean team in women’s hockey. While international messaging included the sister of a dictator and the daughter of America’s president, in Korea, the conversation is now of renewed talks between the North and South – an agenda advanced in part by the timing of these Games. We have no idea what the political future will hold, but we do know what we experienced over the last two-and-a-half weeks. Even in one of the coldest Winter Games in recent memory, the host offered unmistakable warmth with their spirit, their smiles and their pride.”
Lipinski on what it is like being an Olympic athlete at the Closing Ceremony: “It’s the best. There is this rush of emotions and you feel overwhelmingly happy. But a mix of sadness, because you know this awe-inspiring event is coming to an end. But you feel so grateful that you were able to represent your country, and know that these memories will last you a lifetime. The Closing Ceremony really is an exclamation point on the most thrilling, stressful and fulfilling three weeks of your life.”
Weir on Beijing, host of the 2022 Winter Games: “It is the gold standard among the Opening Ceremonies. Beijing did an amazing job. Some old favorites from Beijing will be coming back for the 2022 Games, and by some favorites, I mean the buildings. The Bird’s Nest will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The Water Cube, which was swimming in 2008, will host curling in 2022, and Capital Indoor Stadium which was volleyball in 2008, will be figure skating in 2022.”
Gannon on tonight’s Closing Ceremony: “This is a night where they look to do three things – inspire that next wave of athletes here in South Korea and around the globe, celebrate Korean culture…and give a nod to peace, with an optimistic view of the world.”
Lipinski comparing the Opening and Closing Ceremonies: “When you go to the Opening Ceremony, there is still this feeling of stress and what is looming ahead. You have your individual event that you want to do really well at. So when you go to Closing, it is just a party, it is relief, it is like the best dessert you have ever had.”
Gannon on North Korea and South Korea marching under a unified flag: “Whatever this all means in the future, and none of us really know the legacy of this, but certainly they are very serious, at least during these Games, about making this about a sense of unity.”
Lipinski on her favorite moments from the Closing Ceremony: “I really was into the drones. They did Soohorang. I was expecting a figure skater to pop up, it didn’t happen. But there was a heart. I’m a romantic. I was into it.”
Lipinski on what the Olympics mean to her: “You look at what these athletes do to get to this moment, to have a Closing Ceremony. I think back as a kid, I had a “Faster, Stronger, Higher” poster on my wall for so many years and then you get here and this is it. This is what you live for.”
Lindsey Vonn to reporter Gadi Schwartz on what the Closing Ceremony means to her: “This is not just a Closing Ceremony, but for me, it is a closing out of my Olympic career. So I’m trying to soak it all in, like I have the entire Games, and enjoy it with my teammates. It is so much fun to see the enthusiasm and see the success that our teams have had. I am just so happy to be a part of it.”
Vonn on what the Olympics have given to her: “The Olympics have given me a platform to promote my sport, and share the story of my family and everything that they have done to support me. It was always our dream as a family to make it to the Olympics. It is something more than a competition. I greatly appreciate every opportunity, and the chance to represent my country.”
Jessie Diggins to Tanith White on the opportunity to be the U.S. flag bearer: “It’s incredible. It’s been really, really humbling and such an honor to be voted to carry the flag. It’s been so cool just being here at the Games, being able to race so many times, getting the chance to represent our country and getting to meet so many athletes from every sport.”
Diggins on what Olympic moment will stand out the most: “I will never be able to get out of my head the image of our team tearing apart the fence, ready to jump over it after we won that gold medal. It was the coolest moment for me because we did this as a team and everybody knows that. The only reason we got here is because of all the hard work that every single person put in. Getting to see them kind of lose it was amazing.”
Prior to tonight’s coverage of the Opening Ceremony, NBC aired excerpts of an interview between NBC News National Correspondent Peter Alexander and first daughter Ivanka Trump, who attended the final days of the Olympic Winter Games as a representative as the United States. Following are excerpts from the interview, which will air in full on TODAY on Monday morning on NBC.
Ivanka Trump on the Olympic Games: “We’re inspired by the commitment to excellence that is evidenced by each of the athletes who can make it here. This is the highest level, and it’s truly just amazing to watch the raw emotion when they win, when they lose. There really are no losers. Anyone who arrived here had a major accomplishment. It’s very raw and very real and very honest and, really, very beautiful.”
Alexander: “Is there any sport that you’d like to try?”
Trump: “Curling is pretty cool. I was getting very big into the big air competition. If you’re asking me which one I wish I had the skill to do, I’m going to go with that. But I’m not up for going to try it. That was a serious jump. I’m not going to try it anytime in the near future. I’m going to stick to skis for now.”
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— PYEONGCHANG 2018 —