- London Olympics 2012
Kids light cauldron as London launches Olympics in style
Seven promising young athletes were given the honour of lighting the Olympic cauldron to officially mark the start of the 2012 Games after London kicked off the 30th Olympiad in style.
In what was a closely guarded secret, the youngsters' act provided a fitting end to a spectacular opening ceremony after Team GB completed the athletes' procession following a glittering extravaganza conceived by British film director Danny Boyle.
David Beckham, who missed out on a place in Stuart Pearce's football squad, was given the role of delivering the flame on a speedboat from City Hall to the stadium. Sir Steve Redgrave, one of the bookmakers' favourites to be given the honour, carried the flame into the stadium, but it was handed to the seven budding Olympians.
The London 2012 Olympic bid was firmly based on legacy, its motto 'inspire a generation' embodied in the decision to give the lighting of the cauldron to youngsters, who were chosen by British Olympic champions.
Copper petals, brought into the stadium by the 204 participating nations, closed like a flower to form the cauldron to signify unity.
An emotional Sir Chris Hoy led out the British team, while Usain Bolt was the Jamaican flag bearer. Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, who is in action in the road race on Saturday, rang the giant bell to mark the beginning of the opening ceremony.
The Queen appeared to parachute into the Olympic Stadium accompanied by James Bond, while Mr Bean and JK Rowling made an appearance as Boyle's creation celebrated British history, music, film and literature.
After the Queen declared the Games officially open, Lord Coe said that he had never been as proud to be British, while International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge declared that the Games had come home, with Great Britain "the birthplace of modern sport".