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The focus of the Baku 2015 European Games shifts back to the Olympic Stadium for the fitting finale of the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, when a farewell show reunites athletes of the 50 competing nations from across Europe.
For the very last time in these inaugural European Games, the athletes will take centre stage and will be joined in celebration by their families, coaches, the exceptional Flamekeeper volunteers as well as commercial partners, the broadcasters and media and the general public, as the Baku night sky is lit up by 10,000 fireworks.
Under the direction of James Hadley, the Baku 2015 Closing Ceremony will be a spectacular show for the attendees and the millions of viewers worldwide, bringing to an end the 17 days of thrilling competition seen by hundreds of thousands of spectators. It will also be a recognition of the efforts of the 12,500 Flamekeepers, who have shown great friendliness and offered a traditional warm Azerbaijani welcome to the thousands of visitors to Baku throughout the first ever European Games.
Mr Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Youth and Sports and Chief Executive Officer of Baku 2015, said: “The first European Games will go down in sporting history. I am very proud of what has been achieved in Baku and the positive feedback we have been getting in terms of the setting, organisation, hospitality and action. It has been a success for Azerbaijan, and will be a launching pad for future sporting events we will host.
“The Closing Ceremony will be a fitting celebration of the Games and will ensure that the flame never goes out in the hearts of all who have shared in this wonderful experience.”
San Francisco-based Mr Hadley added: “My appointment to create the Baku 2015 Closing Ceremony is an honour. It’s been an exciting experience and has never been done before. The team I have worked with is fantastic and I couldn’t be happier with the talent we have pulled together. We’re looking to blend the old and the new and find the perfect fusion between the two. ”
James Hadley has over 25 years of experience in professional theatre, circus arts, and directing large-scale events. As Cirque du Soleil's Senior Artistic Director, he oversaw many top North American productions and was responsible for the artistic quality and evolution of these world-renowned shows.
The Closing Ceremony will be held in the newly-built Olympic Stadium in front of a capacity crowd of 68,000 people and a potential worldwide television reach of more than 800 million.