Fireworks explode during the closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, in Beijing.
The Olympic flame has been extinguished in Beijing, with fireworks filling the evening sky, marking the end of the most locked-down games in history.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach praised China and thanked the people of the country for staging the Games in a safe way and sent a message of peace from the Olympic community.
“In this Olympic community we are all equal. We are all equal – regardless of what we look like, where we come from, or what we believe in. You give peace a chance,” he said. “In this Olympic spirit of solidarity, we call on the international community: give equal access to vaccines to everybody around the world.”
It was the second pandemic Olympics in the more than two years since the coronavirus first emerged in China.
The movements of athletes, media and workers were heavily restricted and everyone wore masks and took daily COVID tests.
There were only 463 positive COVID tests reported among thousands of people who came to Beijing for the Games.
Internationally, many denounced the IOC for holding the Olympics in concert with a Chinese government accused of human rights violations — allegations that Beijing denies.
Several Western governments boycotted by not sending any official delegations, though they sent athletes.
“The curtain has come down on the strangest and most controversial winter games ever,” said AP sports journalist John Leicester.
Attention now turns to 2024 in Paris, where officials hope for a COVID-free and scandal-free Summer Games.
Watch the report in the video player above.