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Olympic closing to feature star-studded turnout

BEIJING – The closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics may not be as eagerly anticipated as its lavish opening but details revealed Tuesday suggest it could be another spectacular performance.

World-famous Spanish tenor Placido Domingo will grace the stage in a duet with Chinese soprano star Song Zuying on Aug. 24, the last day of the more than two-week long Olympic Games, according to the China Daily, quoting a director of the ceremony’s cultural performances.

Tao Chunjie, director of the first scene of the closing ceremony, told Chinese media earlier that the programme will feature elements of southwestern China’s Yunnan culture.

Unlike the opening ceremony, the closing will not involve any dress rehearsals as the men’s marathon ends just eight hours earlier, the newspaper said.

Although the content of the closing ceremony remains a secret, the report said a kung fu display featuring 350 practitioners from a local martial arts school will be part of the show, in addition to 60 players of the Chinese string instrument, erhu.

The climax of the show will come as the Olympic flame is extinguished, renowned Chinese director Zhang Yimou, chief director of the opening and closing ceremonies, told Chinese media earlier in August.

"We are dedicated to creating a happy atmosphere at the closing ceremony," he said. "The message is to say goodbye, and to promise to meet again in four years." 

Organisers have made contingency plans for any emergency that might occur, with the biggest threat being rain, which might force part of the show to be cut or readjusted, the report said.

Like the opening ceremony, the closing ceremony will also be held at the open-air National Stadium, or "Bird’s Nest."

The organisers will allow time for London, which won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics, to perform an eight-minute dance show during the handover ceremony.

The British Daily Mirror newspaper has already revealed that football star David Beckham will make an appearance during the time allotted to London.

Beckham is expected to arrive on top of one of London’s famous red double-decker buses before he kicks a football into the crowd to celebrate, according to British media.

Hundreds of dancers from the UK will then perform ballet and break-dancing routines as the countdown to 2012 begins.

Former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page will also perform a duet with pop star Leona Lewis, according to The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is scheduled to attend the closing ceremony, will be handed the Olympic flag on behalf of London, the China Daily said.

People connected with it said the London segment will be in stark contrast to the Chinese goodbye and will also "contain quite a lot of humour," according to the BBC.

The Beijing Olympics began on Aug. 8. Around 11,000 athletes from a record 204 nations are competing in 28 sports for 302 gold medals at the first Olympics in China and third in Asia, following Tokyo in 1964 and Seoul in 1988.

[dpa / Expatica]

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