Olympic flame takes flight as fireworks, pageantry open Beijing Games

Updated: August 8, 2008, 3:43 PM ET
Associated Press

BEIJING -- Once-reclusive China commandeered the world stage Friday, celebrating its first-time role as Olympic host with a stunning display of pyrotechnics and pageantry -- topped by the unworldly sight of a flying gymnast, traversing the heights of the stadium to light the flame and begin the Summer Games.

Now ascendant as a global power, China welcomed scores of world leaders to an opening ceremony watched by 91,000 people at the eye-catching National Stadium and a potential audience ...

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