Paris Olympics 2024 Closing Ceremony Rehearsals Begin in Secret Location

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Like the opening ceremony, the closing ceremony is created and directed by French director Thomas Jolly.

While public attention is focused on the grand opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics set to be held on the Seine River, the Paris Organizing Committee has already commenced rehearsals for the closing ceremony.

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The closing ceremony performance, themed “Records,” will be held in the evening of August 11 at the Stade de France. Like the opening ceremony, the closing ceremony is created and directed by renowned French director Thomas Jolly.

To avoid potential instability, the rehearsals are being conducted at a location about an hour’s drive from Paris. The organizing committee selected a spacious secret venue and built a stage the same size as the one to be used for the closing ceremony.

The rehearsals are held outdoors at night to simulate the conditions on the day of the closing ceremony. Reporters observed that during rehearsals, all accompanying music was not played through speakers; instead, performers wore headphones. Staff members explained that this was all for “the sake of secrecy.”

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Jolly stated that the idea for the closing ceremony show will be significantly different from that of the opening ceremony, as he will use various artistic forms to tell an “imaginary story about the Olympics.”

“After two intense weeks of competitions, the athletes’ emotions will be different. We hope to provide all athletes and spectators with an immersive experience. Before enjoying the final joy and relaxation, we will take everyone back to the origins of the Olympics in a unique way and then jointly look to the future,” said Jolly.

As a talented French theater director and actor, Jolly is particularly adept at interpreting and transforming historical dramas. At the age of 33, he won France’s highest theater honor, the Moliere Award, for his 18-hour-long play “Henry VI.”

Jolly explained that in this performance, he designed a scenario where, at some point in the future, when the Olympics had disappeared, the relics of the Olympics would be discovered and the Olympic movement revived.

“This inspiration comes from the history of the Olympic movement. The ancient Olympics once existed but then disappeared, only to be revived over a hundred years ago by Pierre de Coubertin and others,” Jolly said.

“Every Olympic Games comes to an end, and the Olympic flame will be extinguished at that moment. This moment reminds us of the preciousness of the Olympics, but also its fragility, especially as we live in a fragile world. Therefore, this joyous moment is also an opportunity for us to reflect on the importance of the Olympics in our society,” Jolly explained.

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The entire closing ceremony performance will last about 40 minutes and involve over a hundred performers. In addition to the performance, traditional activities such as the entry of the athletes’ delegations and the handover of the Olympic flag will also take place during the closing ceremony.

“The Olympic closing ceremony is very important to us. It is a moment of farewell, but also a moment of joy. I have seen Jolly’s creativity, and it is wonderful. I hope this performance will be a highlight of the closing ceremony,” said Tony Estanguet, chairman of the organizing committee.

What was shown to reporters that day was only part of the entire performance. Due to confidentiality regarding costumes and sets, all participants wore black. In a few minutes, the performers demonstrated rehearsed dance moves and acrobatic performances, all conducted on a circular steel structure symbolizing “Olympic relics.”

These performers will continue rehearsing for 12 consecutive days. Afterward, the director’s team will refocus on the rehearsals for the opening ceremony on the Seine River. The final rehearsal for the closing ceremony will take place after the official start of the Paris Olympics on July 27. The Paris Olympics will be held from July 26 to August 11.

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