Giant Sochi Mascots Make Their Triumphant Return

02/23/2014 at 03:00 PM EST

Sochi Mascots Return for Closing Ceremony
The Sochi mascots
Grigory Dukor/Reuters/Landov
Though NBC cut the Sochi mascots (Bear, Leopard and Hare) from the opening ceremony, Russia made them a crucial part of the closing ceremony.

We're still kind of creeped out by them, though.

Giant Sochi Mascots Make Their Triumphant Return| Winter Olympics 2014

One of the mascots of the Sochi Olympic Games blows out the flame during the closing ceremony

Barbara Walton / EPA / Landov

The massive, sort-of-lifelike creatures were wheeled back into Fisht Olympic Stadium and spent some time wheeling around the floor and looking back and forth before Bear sidled up to the Olympic torch, and – with a Superman-esque gust of super-breath – blew out the flame.

Then the giant bear shed a single tear.

The mascots were such a big part of the closing ceremony that we find it all but impossible to believe that NBC would cut them out of its broadcast Sunday night, but even if they do, we have the pictures to prove they were there, they were magnificent – and a little unsettling.

Where do you stand on Bear, Leopard and Hare?



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