The extinguishing of the Olympic flame may have drawn the curtains on the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, but the heat it generated is yet to die down.
In New York, a cosmopolitan city that accommodates people of different races and cultures, the Beijing Olympiad has been widely watched and talked about, and will surely be remembered for a very long time.
Around 8 p.m. Eastern Time (2400 GMT) Sunday, many people stopped at NBC's big screen in bustling Times Square on Manhattan Island to watch the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. To them, the extravaganza was just another example of all-around excellence shown by the host nation.
"China did a great job," said Cameron and Megan Lynch from Australia who have been following the Games closely and did not mind comparing the Beijing Olympics with the 2000 Games in Sydney.
"Everything - the organizing, the venues, the environment (in Beijing) - all went so smooth, no trouble, no problem. We've been enjoying it," they said.
"Sports (in China) is good. The country is very progressive, and we've seen more technologies in this Olympics. We're happy that Russia is third on the gold medal chart, but China did better," said Russian students Grigory Kulikov and Eduard Galiullin, who are holidaying in New York.
The fact that China topped the gold medal chart was the most impressive event for Saurabh Gujarati, an Indian student doing his Ph.D at Michigan State University. "It is a spectacular feat by China. I hope India can do the same one day."
Some sports fans noticed that the host country had made progress in some events that are not China's traditional strong fields. Local high school students Dontaye Cerda and George Ayala praised the Chinese baseball team, which had put up a fierce fight against the U.S.
On or off court, many foreigners have found the Beijing Olympics offering a window to more insights into a real China.
"(The opening ceremony and the closing ceremony were) really good introductions to Chinese history, and I hope they gave everybody a better understanding of how much pride the Chinese people have for their country and history," said local businessman Tim Wendt, who lived in Beijing for a year.
He has been closely following the entire event and joined his Chinese friends at a bar in uptown Manhattan for the closing ceremony Sunday night. "It was so spectacular and I think everybody was impressed by what they saw."
"I think the Americans now talk a lot about how really good the Chinese audiences have been, especially when the Americans were part of the competition."
Wendt's Chinese friends find their confidence and pride hugely boosted by the success of the Beijing Olympics and the world's recognition of it.
Feng Zhu, an actor who just landed a part in the popular U.S. TV series Law and Order, hoped that the Chinese power demonstrated in the Olympics will promote the image of Chinese overseas.
Wall Street financier Yanhua Liu said he found courage and strength from the athletes, who motivated him to reach higher.
Margaret Chu of Taiwan was also excited about sharing the glory. "As a Chinese, I am so proud that we have achieved so much in the Olympic Games," she said.
"The Games have shown to the world a different China and lifted our international image," she added. "I am just so proud to be Chinese."