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London Stages Eight-Minute Olympic Handover Performance
    2008-08-24 21:18:41     Xinhua

A red double-decker bus is driven into the Bird's Nest during an eight-minute performance prepared by London, host city of the next summer Olympic Games in 2012, at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games on Sunday night, August 24, 2008. [Photo: Xinhuanet]

Related: Highlights of London Handover Performance at Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony

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An eight-minute performance prepared by London, host city of the next summer Olympic Games in 2012, was staged in the National Stadium, or the Bird's Nest, in north Beijing on Sunday night at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games.

A big red double-decker bus, marking London-Beijing-London, entered the "Bird Nest" and moved around the Stadium at 21:10 local time to start the eight-minute London performance.

The bus was accompanied by cyclists Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade, dressed not as Olympians but as ordinary riders down the ground, symbolising down Oxford Street of Park Lane.

The performers were starting to see a well-trodden image of ordinary London life, with the Beijing National Stadium turned into a London street.

The bus was driven to a bus stop. A queue of contemporary London characters are waiting at a stop next to a pedestrian zebra crossing. The queue was played by three dance groups.

The bus came to a halt at the bus stop and a child, Tayyiba Dudhwala, got off the bus from east London.

The nine-year-old girl was chosen in a competition of the viewers of Britain's most famous children's TV programme, BBC's "Blue Peter", to represent the children of Britain.

Dudhwala was met by Erika Tham with Chinese, Canadian, Malaysian and Ukraine heritage, who represented the rest of the world.

Tham made a presentation to Dudhwala of a soccer. This represented a child's more simple approach to the formal handover of Olympic flag -- a treasured gift was handed over.

Then the London bus took a dramatic transformation. The hedge was cut into the shape of iconic London buildings including the Tower of London, Battersea Power Station, the Gherkin and St Paul's Cathedral.

This symbolised historic and modern London, and London 2012 Games' plans to use London landmarks such as Horse Guards Parade, the new Wembley Stadium, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the new Olympic Park, Hyde Park, Wimbledon and Lord's Cricket Ground as venues and backdrops for the Games, showcasing sport and athletes in stunning settings that will inspire audiences around the world.

The bus transformation was built into a stage for the headline performers as the roof opened out into petal-shaped sections. The scene inside was predominantly green with lush grass and a hedge cut into the shape of the London skyline.

This reflected the greenness of London and the Britain -- from green fields, Royal Park and country gardens to famous sports fields.

Leona Lewis, a singer born in London, emerged on a rising lift from within the bus in a spectacular dress designed with students at the London College of Fashion.

The music reached a crescendo. A long guitarist rose through the stage and there was a pause. One of the world's most famous guitar riffs was heard played by Jimmy Page, a world-renowned guitarist and composer. The song that followed up was "Whole Lotta Love".

As the song reached its climax, a third and final lift emerged carrying a violinist and cellist (representing the London Symphony Orchestra who play on the track), dressed in British team sports kit, and the London child, Dudhwala, accompanied by soccer icon David Beckham.

Beckham was handed the soccer by Dudhwala and kicked the ball into the crowd of athletes representing more than 200 nations and regions gathered in the Stadium for the closing ceremony.

This symbolised the power of sport to unite the world and the importance of sport for young people, a central theme of the London 2012 Games.

A group of people carried umbrellas gathered around the bus and covered up the sides of London bus. The umbrellas lighted up in colors.

The red London double-decker bus was heading out of the Stadium as a magical contemporary carnical float. The dancers got on the bus to create a dazzling screen of images and vibrant colours together with umbrellas.

This represented London was leaving a bold calling card for the youth of the world to reunite in the city for the 2012 Games. A Games that promises inspirational sport, diverse culture, a focus on young people and humanity.

The bus progressed to leave the Stadium at 21:18 local time to wrap up London's performance.

"I'm very excited that in 2012 my home city will host the next Olympic Games. To be asked to represent the UK as part of the handover at the Beijing closing ceremony is such an honor," said Lewis, who achieved unparalleled success since releasing her debut single "A Moment Like This".

"London is the best city in the world to me and I am so proud to be part of what we have to offer."

For Beckham, it's a much treasured experience to be part of the closing ceremony.

"One of the proudest moments of my life was when London was announced as the Olympic Games host city in 2012. I'm passionate about the Games coming to my home country and I'm honored to take part in the closing ceremony," said the soccer player, who captaining his country 58 times and moved to LA Galaxy in 2007.

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What do you think will impress foreign visitors the most during the Beijing Olympics?
The friendliness of the Beijing people
The Water Cube and other Olympic venues
The Forbidden City
The Great Wall
Beijing "siheyuan" (Chinese traditional courtyard houses)
Peking Opera
Wangfujing Street
Beijing Roast Duck