POSTED: Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 6:00pm
UPDATED: Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 6:04pm
(CNN) — The closing ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on Sunday night took viewers through what organizers called an artistic look at Russian culture before the Olympic flag was handed over to organizers for the 2018 Games.
The ceremony opened with a scene in the the Black Sea, which laps Sochi's shores. A rowing boat with three children was suspended in the air over the floor of the stadium, where the imagery of water swirled and silvery human fish swam through the waves.
Eventually, the fish turned into the Olympic rings, with one circle taking its time to open, a nod to the failure of lights that formed four rings and a non-opening dot during the opening ceremony.
There also were two final medal ceremonies, including the crowd-pleasing awards for the top three -- all Russians -- in the men's 50-kilometer cross-country ski race.
The closing ceremony featured 62 classical pianists playing at one time, members of the Bolshoi and Kirov ballets performing moments from some of their most famous productions, and a tribute to Russian literary heroes like Leo Tolstoy and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
The Olympic flag was lowered and given to representatives of Pyeongchang, South Korea, the host city for the Winter Olympics in four years.
The closing ceremony brings to an end 16 days of competition during which a record 98 sets of medals were awarded. The host nation finished atop the medal standings, with 13 golds among its 33 medals.