Last night the 2012 Summer Olympics kicked off with a huge Opening Ceremony in London's new Olympic Stadium, an event watched on television by an estimated 1 billion viewers. Performances paid tribute to British heritage and culture, from agrarian beginnings through pop culture successes like the Beatles and J.K. Rowling. Contingents from more than 200 nations marched in the athletes parade, and the evening was capped off by the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron, a performance by Paul McCartney, and a huge fireworks display. Collected below is just a glimpse of last night's ceremony, as the 2012 Olympics are now underway.
The Olympic Flame Arrive
Today marks the end of the 70-day Olympic Torch relay through the United Kingdom, leading to the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Since arriving in Cornwall on May 18, the flame has been carried through villages and cities, across lakes and mountain ranges, on foot, by train, on horseback, and through the air, from Cornwall to central London. The torch has passed through the hands of more than 8,000 torchbearers on its 8,000 mile (12,800 km) journey. Be sure to also see first half of the journey. And stay tuned: as the Opening Ceremony takes place tonight, I'll be gathering photographs, which I will post tomorrow morning, Saturday, July 28.
Sir Roger Bannister holds the Olympic Flame on the running track at Iffley Road Stadium in Oxford, England, on July 10, 2012. Bannister was the first person ever to run a sub-four-minute-mile, on May 6, 1954, at this track in Oxford. Bannister returned to the site of his greatest sporting achievement, to participate in this Olympic Torch relay.
(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)