Paralympic closing ceremony: a letter to the future

Updated: 2008-09-17 22:58


BEIJING -- The Paralympic closing ceremony kept the "fairy tale" style of the opening ceremony, Zhang Jigang, executive artistic director of the ceremony, said on Wednesday night.

Performers dance during the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games at the National Stadium, better known as the "Bird's Nest", in Beijing on September 17, 2008. Surreal scenes of fairy tales and romance are dramatized at the closing ceremony, showing love and respect for all the Paralympians and disabled. [Xinhua]


The art performance, named "A Letter to the Future", consisted of six parts: Red Leaves of Fragrant Hill, Sowing, Watering, Harvest, Celebration, and Mail it to the Future.

At the beginning of the performance, small yellow flowers slowly bloomed on the green lawn to form Chinese characters and English letters of this segment, making the 7,560-square-meter performance area a huge "envelope".

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"All the songs and dances delivered a message that the disabled people will never give up and will go for their most beautiful dreams along with the able-bodied," Zhang said.

The "letter" was also a blessing message from Chinese people to the disabled people all over the world, encouraging them to strive for happiness, according to Zhang.

He said the mailboxes temporarily set up in the Bird's Nest echoed the theme as every spectator could write a real postcard inside the stadium to whoever he wanted to and all the postcards will be sent with specially-designed postmark on Thursday.

"It's a real letter to tomorrow," Zhang said.


The Paralympic flame went out atop the Bird's Nest as a hearing-impaired girl "talked" to the flame with gesture language.

"The Flame, do you see? You are in my heart. The Flame, do you hear? I am singing to you with my heart," Wang Yimei, 10, repeated it again and again with sign language while the flame went out slowly.

Meanwhile, 126 hearing-impaired dancers simulated the flame with their arms and hands, which implicated that the flame would burn in the people's heart forever, Zhang said.

Actually, there had been another plan to extinguish the flame, Zhang disclosed.

In the original plan, a blind child writes in Braille on a postcard, and as he closes the card, the Paralympic flame goes out. The Plan A was ruled out some 10 days ago.

"It's not only an end of the Paralympics, but also a conclusion to the 'Two Games with Equal Splendor' after seven years preparation, so the moment has a special meaning," Zhang said, adding he believed the new way would leave a deeper impression on the spectators.


Zhang said he hoped the moment would be forever kept in people's mind when the thundering fireworks erupted in a climax of the closing ceremony.

"It also signaled the curtain-down for the two Games and four ceremonies," he said.

Zhang said it was the first time for the world to see the Chinese character-shaped fireworks.

The fireworks burst into the shape of Chinese characters "Wei Lai", which means "future".

"The delicately-designed fireworks show was another impressive part of the ceremony," he said.

Beijing has set a high standard for future Games hosts, just as Athens did four years ago, Zhang noted.

"The success of the Athens Games' opening ceremony had given us great pressure," Zhang admitted.

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