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Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 14:34 UK

Beijing 2008: A Russian perspective

A London Double Decker bus is seen during the Closing Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
The red London bus entering the stadium and then transforming into a green stage reminded us of the city's pledge to host a truly green Games

Dmitry Chernyshenko, who heads the organising committee for the Winter Olympics in Russia's Sochi in 2014, is writing for the BBC from Beijing.

A good start is halfway to success. But how this success sticks in the memory fully depends on the finish.

After the grand success of the Beijing 2008 opening ceremony, I thought it would be tough for the closing event to live up to the same billing.

As you probably saw, it was a different spectacle, but just as magical; celebrating contemporary China and with a real party atmosphere in the stadium, with athletes from all nations mixing together in the true spirit of the Games.

On the big screen inside the Olympic Stadium I saw many Russian athletes laughing and joking with their fellow competitors from different parts of the world. I could see them waving lots of Russian flags in the centre of the field, glad to have made our nation proud with a sprint finish to 3rd in the medals table.

It must have been pretty special for the marathon runners to receive their medals in a packed Bird's Nest, with all their fellow Olympians from different sports around them and the world watching back at home.

After a while we heard from the President of the Beijing Olympic Games Organising Committee, Liu Qi, and the President of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, and we knew the Games of the XXIX Olympiad were drawing to a close.

Sochi 2014 actually had a sneak preview of the big show, watching rehearsals as part of the IOC Observer Program we've been taking part in here in Beijing. However, the organisers kept all the big secrets up their sleeves just for final ceremony, so it still managed to surpass our expectations!

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Leona Lewis perform during the Closing Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
Great performances from Leona Lewis and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page gave us a taste of the great entertainment we can expect from the 2012 Games

Beforehand, I was also really looking forward to the Olympic handover to London 2012, imagining what it will be like when Vancouver 2010 passes us the Olympic baton.

They didn't disappoint. The red London bus entering the stadium and then transforming into a green stage reminded us of the city's pledge to host a truly green Games. Great performances from Leona Lewis and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page gave us a taste of the great entertainment we can expect from the 2012 Games.

Another key part of the London 2012 segment was the idea of showing the multiculturalism in Britain united behind the Olympic ideal. During the Games in Beijing I saw just how the Chinese had really showcased their culture in and around the Games and heard that this was their way to show the world what modern China was all about. I'm excited that Sochi's multiculturalism will provide a great basis for Russia to tell its story at our time, just as our Chinese host has so expertly done.

Yet their closing ceremony was about embracing every nation and every culture - their One World, One Dream vision. Mixed with the London 2012 segment, it was a real triumph for the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

It also made me think about how important it is for Games organisers to learn from - rather than try to outdo - each other. Every Host City is different and that is the beauty of the Games. Yet, the Olympiad presents many shared challenges, most of which previous hosts have faced and overcome, and future ones, like Sochi 2014, can build solutions from.

Ultimately, our main focus is to organise a truly innovative and inspirational Olympic and Paralympic Games. Only by doing this can we conserve and grow people's interest in the Games and empower the Olympic Movement as a force for good.

Jacques Rogge called the Beijing 2008 Games "extraordinary". I'm hopeful that the 2008 Paralympic Games will enjoy the same success.

I'm sure that Sochi 2014 will be also honoured with such high praise. I'll do everything possible for it. That's a promise.




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