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`STAFF’ PASSED TO MAYOR CUOMO OF NEW YORK FOR NEXT GAMES

SHARE `STAFF’ PASSED TO MAYOR CUOMO OF NEW YORK FOR NEXT GAMES

Weightlifters swaying to a Michael Jackson song, a Russian brass band playing "My Way" and Ted Turner fighting back tears highlighted Sunday's closing of the third Goodwill Games.

Mayor Anatoly Sobchak of St. Petersburg passed the "staff" to New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, symbolizing that New York City will play host to the 1998 games.Sobchak, Cuomo and Turner gave brief speeches, and Turner choked back tears as the Goodwill Games flame was extinguished while a band played the officials games' hymn.

A giant fireworks display by a New Jersey firm ended the evening before a near-sellout crowd at 70,000-seat Kirov Stadium - site of the sold-out opening ceremonies on July 23.

Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomirdin declared the 1994 Goodwill Games closed, speaking of behalf of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who opened them.

The crowd that came to see the closing ceremony for the 16-day games was treated to a genearlly well-choreographed mix of music and dance - and the unusual.

- A group of 200 weightlifters hoisted more than 20 tons to knee level. The 80 bars were attached to each other and lifted simultaneously. Organizers claimed the lift would go into the Guinness Book of Records.

Lifters then celebrated by donning blue plastic ponchos and moved to the center of the field, swaying to Jackson's "Heal the World."

- Several military brass bands grouped together and played folk music and Frank Sinatra's "My Way," accompanied by four Russian couples in navy outfits dancing to the tunes.

- Twenty-five parachutists floated into the stadium.

- The ceremony was held around a soccer exhibition between a Russian team and a team of international players. Many of the non-Russian players arrived just a few hours before the match.

Organizers had to scramble to get a full side after numerous changes from the original player list.

The Russians won 2-1 but missed a number of easy scoring opportunities against the disorganized "all-stars." Franz Beckenbauer, the former German World Cup star and manager, had been scheduled to coach the "all-stars" but never showed up.