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SOCHI, Russia - With a nod to Russia's Olympic past and 900 children carrying small flames, a giant bear has extinguished the flame of the Sochi Games.

The 26-foot (8-meter) bear shed a single tear down from his left eye after blowing out a cauldron inside Fischt Olympic Stadium, marking the symbolic end of the 17-day games.

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The bear's breath was followed by the giant Olympic torch overlooking the coastal cluster of arenas being extinguished.

It was a relatively quiet moment considering the circumstances - a packed arena and three giant animatronic mascots, with hundreds of children. Soft music was the same that played during the closing ceremony of the 1980 Moscow Games.

For a moment, the crowd treated it as a bittersweet gesture, after showing sadness when International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach declared the games closed.

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But the sentiments were brief.

Soon, fireworks exploded over the stadium and athletes poured onto the arena floor to dance in front of a DJ, with screens showing an animated Olympic leopard mascot on the decks. They danced nearly an hour - long after the TV cameras had turned off - with fans pouring onto the arena floor to join them.

The message was clear: Competition's over, time to celebrate.

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