With Olympics Closing Ceremony, China Celebrates a Joyless Triumph

BEIJING — All along, Chinese officials insisted that the Olympics were not about politics, but rather sports. In the end, controversy and scandal haunted those, too.

For all of China’s efforts to carry on the Winter Games with a festive spirit, Beijing 2022 unfolded as a joyless spectacle: constricted by a global health disaster, fraught with geopolitical tensions, tainted once again by accusations of doping and overshadowed by the crisis in Ukraine.

Athletes marched into the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing on Sunday night to the sound of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, closing the most contentious Olympics in years with a display of traditional Chinese knots, red lanterns and a final burst of fireworks that lighted up a cold, clear night.

Amid the pomp of the closing ceremony, China…

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