2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
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2008 Beijing Games opening ceremony

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

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Lopez Lomong carries the flag in front of a cheerful yet subdued contingent of U.S. athletes.

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The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant smiles during the athletes’ procession.

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

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Entertainers perform during the ceremony.

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

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Fireworks light the National Stadium.

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Performers raise a show of color during the opening ceremony.

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

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

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Drummers stand at attention at the kickoff of the 2008 Bejing Olympics.

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

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Suspended by wires, Li Ning delivers the flame that lights the Olympic torch.

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

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

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

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Fireworks create a brilliant sight during the opening ceremony.

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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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Drummers take their positions for the opening ceremony at National Stadium. (Adam Pretty / Getty Images)
The drummers’ opening ceremony performance. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)
An artist looks like a shiny puppet during an opening ceremony performance. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)
Artists don dramatic headdresses during the opening ceremony. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)
Fireworks light up Beijing’s night sky during the opening ceremony. (Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images)
The Olympic rings are illuminated. (Alexander Hassenstein Bongarts / Getty Images)
A Chinese performer creates atmosphere with colorful scarves during the ceremony. (Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)
Using a little imagination, a viewer might think the opening ceremony, at one point, resembled a birthday cake with candles. (Mike Hewitt / Getty Images)
A “sailboat” performance. (Mike Hewitt / Getty Images)
Performers glow and sparkle. (Mike Hewitt / Getty Images)
A nod to tradition and history. (Mike Hewitt / Getty Images)
One of many regal moments. (William West AFP/Getty Images)
A young dancer is suspended in air. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)
Fireworks explode over National Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire)
Performers create a striking sea image. (Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images)
Performers walk around a floating sphere. (Luca Bruno / Associated Press)
A dramatic dance and musical performance. (Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)
Striking a traditional pose at National Stadium. (Jerry Lai / US PRESSWIRE)
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)
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)
Illuminated dancers perform during the opening ceremony. (Adam Pretty / Getty Images)
A spacesuited performer inside the National Stadium during the opening ceremony. (Vladimir Rys Bongarts/Getty Images)
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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