2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
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2008 Beijing Games opening ceremony

2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Fireworks light the National Stadium during Olympics opening ceremony Friday night in Beijing.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Lopez Lomong carries the flag in front of a cheerful yet subdued contingent of U.S. athletes.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant smiles during the athletes’ procession.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Chinese table tennis star Sun Jin Fang carries the torch past other athletes during the opening ceremony.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Entertainers perform during the ceremony.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
A scroll is raised in the middle of the Bird’s Nest, as Beijing’s National Stadium is called.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Fireworks light the National Stadium.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Performers raise a show of color during the opening ceremony.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Costumed performers are a whirl of action at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Hundreds of performers salute the crowd during the opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Drummers stand at attention at the kickoff of the 2008 Bejing Olympics.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Drummers perform during the opening ceremony. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Performers in lighted suits create an oceanic image at the opening ceremony at the Beijing National Stadium.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Suspended by wires, Li Ning delivers the flame that lights the Olympic torch.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Entertainers are suspended in the air by cables and climb a globe during the opening ceremony.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Fireworks light the sky over the National Aquatics Center and the National Stadium during the opening ceremony for the Beijing Summer Olympics.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
China’s National Aquatics Center, also known as the “Water Cube,” is seen less than a hour from the start of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summer Games.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
The Olympic rings appear electric during the opening ceremony at National Stadium in Beijing.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
A panoramic view of drummers performing during the opening ceremony in Beijing.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Fireworks create a brilliant sight during the opening ceremony.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Soldiers stand at attention during the opening ceremony. The three-hour show at Beijing’s iconic “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium is set to see more than 15,000 performers showcase the nation’s ancient history and its rise as a modern power.

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2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Drummers take their positions for the opening ceremony at National Stadium. (Adam Pretty / Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
The drummers’ opening ceremony performance. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
An artist looks like a shiny puppet during an opening ceremony performance. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Artists don dramatic headdresses during the opening ceremony. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Fireworks light up Beijing’s night sky during the opening ceremony. (Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
The Olympic rings are illuminated. (Alexander Hassenstein Bongarts / Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
A Chinese performer creates atmosphere with colorful scarves during the ceremony. (Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Using a little imagination, a viewer might think the opening ceremony, at one point, resembled a birthday cake with candles. (Mike Hewitt / Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
A “sailboat” performance. (Mike Hewitt / Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Performers glow and sparkle. (Mike Hewitt / Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
A nod to tradition and history. (Mike Hewitt / Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
One of many regal moments. (William West AFP/Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
A young dancer is suspended in air. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Fireworks explode over National Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Performers create a striking sea image. (Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Performers walk around a floating sphere. (Luca Bruno / Associated Press)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
A dramatic dance and musical performance. (Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Striking a traditional pose at National Stadium. (Jerry Lai / US PRESSWIRE)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Performers drum with light sticks. The Beijing Olympics will open tonight in hot, humid conditions that are doing little to reduce pollution, officials said, less than 24 hours before cyclists begin a race over 152 miles. (Nelson Ching / Bloomberg News)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Performers dance on a white paper sheet representing “papermaking” during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games in the National Stadium. More than 15,000 performers showcased the nation’s ancient history and its rise as a modern power. (Nicolas Asfouri AFP/Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Illuminated dancers perform during the opening ceremony. (Adam Pretty / Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
A spacesuited performer inside the National Stadium during the opening ceremony. (Vladimir Rys Bongarts/Getty Images)
2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Fireworks explode over China’s National Stadium, also known as the “bird’s nest,” during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. (Alexander F. Yuan / Associated Press)
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