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Close Up to the Closing Ceremonies
Scholastic Kid Reporter visits U.S.A. House during Torino's goodbye to the Olympics
By Mackenzie Korbus
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

closing ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games
Fireworks explode during the closing ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, on February 26, 2006.
(Photo: Matt Dunham/AP Wide World)
Sunday, February 26—There's no better way to end the Olympics than experiencing the traditional closing ceremonies, from the U.S.A. house in Torino, Italy. It might have been more exciting to actually be in the stadium with the 35,000 spectators, but from the U.S.A. House I was able to watch in warm surroundings with friends, family, and food!

During the ceremonies, most everyone's eyes were glued to the TV for the ceremonies. TVs were on in the lounge, in the office, in the dining area, and even in the kitchen.

We all had good reason to pay such close attention. Every moment was packed with incredible sights and sounds from the more than 2,300 performers involved. While one group performed hula-hoop tricks, another did trampoline acrobatics, and another floated in mid-air!

Toward the end, fireworks exploded above the stadium. They could be seen from all over the city, but we got an especially good view from the U.S.A. House deck. We were so close that the house shook from the sound.

It wasn't until the fireworks began to shake the house that people turned their eyes from the TV to the skies.

When we returned to our hotel, it was hard to see Medals Plaza due to all the smoke remaining from the fireworks display.

The closing ceremonies caused mixed emotions for the people in Torino working to provide special hospitality to visitors of U.S.A. House. Everyone was pleased with a job well done but sad that it was finally over.

The U.S.A. house had much to celebrate, from the medal-winning athletes to happy visitors and strong store sales. The U.S.A. store had to close earlier than expected because everything sold out!

I feel fortunate to have spent the evening viewing the festivities from a warm chair and with friends and family at the U.S.A. house.

Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.