Tim Walker’s Finale

The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics concluded Sunday night with a spectacular closing ceremony, exactly as one would expect from a finale.

According to resources, where ‘final’ is described simply as ‘coming at the end; last’, a ‘finale’ is said to be the ‘last part or piece of music, an entertainment, or a public event’…

Indeed a ‘finale’ ought to have something special about it; unlike a final, a finale is not just the last thing, it’s the last part.

…I had been lucky enough to catch coverage of the final figure-skating event earlier that night, a discipline I particularly enjoyed – as an avid fan of dance (but an even bigger fan of gorgeous female figures adorned in frilly skirts and spandex body-suits) I, admittedly, even found the men’s singles a breathtaking watch – where, following the competition, the skaters congregated once more for, what the commentator perfectly described as, ‘the finale’…

Coming annually, the final show of a television series should in no way be referred to as a ‘finale’, yet each year I am forced to cringe as I hear about how I ‘simply cannot miss the Shorty Street season finale’; prompting the thinking, ‘Seriously? Are they going to do something special this year? Are they actually doing something different from their B-Grade acting and predictable plotlines – something spectacular – like an actual finale?’

…Similar to a Broadway show (or I guess, to a lesser extent, an X Factor results show), on Sunday night I watched as the skating troupe put on one last, stunningly choreographed, visual delight for their audience; it was brilliant – it was a true finale…

No doubt most people believe that because the French-sounding version of the word ‘finale’ (which turns out to actually be Latin) appears more elegant thus intelligent to listening ears, this is obviously the preferable of the two; as if forgetting the fact that these are two different words for a reason and technically they have two different – albeit nuanced – meanings.

…I then watched as the Olympic Athletes from Russia played Germany in the final ice hockey match of the Olympic tournament. As my first ever viewing of a game of ice hockey the frantic pace, the transcendent skills and coordination; the impact of the collisions had me captivated right until the end – locked at 3-3 at the end of regular time (60 minutes divided into 3 20s) it took a monumental overtime effort by OAR to put away the winning goal thus take the gold medal – where the silver-medalling German’s then showed respect to their opposition of this tremendous final match on the final day of the Winter Olympics, on what was almost the final day of February.

Ultimately a ‘final’ is the last thing in a sequence; a ‘finale’ is the final piece of that sequence.

Not since 1992 and Anneliese Coburger’s brilliance on the slalom course has New Zealand won a medal at a Winter Olympics; now we have two more – as 16-year-old Kiwis go, Nico Porteous and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, along with their respective bronzes, must be the most high-flying duo in the land.

Final note, primarily to producers of television series’ across New Zealand, unless the last one comes with a closing ceremony or other breathtaking spectacle, chances are, it’s just final.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Fie Nully

Photography by Noma Finn Nahly



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