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Olympics closing ceremonies a 'circus' in Torino

Creators of the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, decided to send in the clowns on Sunday night. The "Carnevale" theme--based on Italy's masked festival preceding Lent--featured clown acrobats and included six of the original costumes from the Federico Fellini film "The Clowns." Air jets helped a "snowboarder" soar, Fiats and Vespas careered through the center of the stadium, and several hundred "brides" bearing lanterns marched by.

Singers included famed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, a Torino-area native, and Canadian rocker Avril Lavigne, representing the 2010 Games, which will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia. The show also included a performance by Latin heartthrob Ricky Martin.

The show's director was Swiss-born Daniele Finzi Pasca, a Cirque du Soleil veteran.

In a surprising moment, a man ran onto the stage during the final speech by the chairman of the Torino Olympic Organizing Committee and shouted "Passion lives in Torino," the official Torino slogan, before police hustled him away. One source notes that the intruder's t-shirt bore the logo of an online casino that has staged other stunts in the past.

Photo courtesy Torino 2006/© Reuters

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