And perhaps organizers saved the best for last. At the end of the closing ceremony, the Russian people were delighted to re-live one of the most fondly remembered moments in their nation's Olympic history -- as Mishka the Sochi mascot shed a tear after blowing out the Olympic flame. The sequence was a nod to a similar event that concluded the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, the only other time Russia hosted the games.
During the close to the 1980 games, a giant effigy of Misha the Bear -- that event's mascot, and officially the grandfather of Sochi's bear -- was paraded around the stadium to the tune of a poignant song titled "Farewell, Moscow." The spectacle concluded when Misha, tied to several large balloons, was released and soared away from the stadium into the night sky. Immediately before his emotional exit, an image of a tearful Misha appeared in the crowd.
To this day, Misha is still fondly remembered by millions of Russians and is now recognized as one of the most successful Olympic mascots in history.
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