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Celebrations Held across Britain on Olympic Flag Handover
    2008-08-25 05:08:33     Xinhua

London citizens gather in front of the Buckingham Palace to celebrate London's takeover of the Olympic flag from Beijng, August 24, 2008. [Photo: Xinhuanet]

The Olympic handover flags were raised on Sunday in more than 400 venues across Britain to celebrate the moment London becomes the next host city.

The nationwide event "The Sing The Nation, The Sing London," featured songs connected to each region, including Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff.

Each London borough held a flag-raising ceremony and street parties and festivals were held. Banners went up at about 2:06 p.m. local time as Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, was handed the Olympic flag at the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Games.

As the flags were raised, 40,000 people gathered in the Mall in front of the Buckingham Palace in London for the Visa London 2012 Party.

The celebrations were broadcast on giant screens in Trafalgar Square, Canary Wharf, Victoria Park and Greenwich in London and in other cities.

People cheered and waved the London 2012 Olympic flags while football star David Bechham, singer Leona Lewis and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page performed at the Beijing closing ceremony.

"We are delighted that so many local authorities share our excitement and are proudly displaying the handover flag to mark this very special moment on our journey to 2012," he said.

Earlier, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II hailed the "golden triumphs" of the British team the Beijing Olympics, congratulating them on the best Olympic medal performance for a century.

"As the Olympic Games in Beijing draw to a close, I have been particularly impressed by the British and Commonwealth athletes who have taken part in this memorable competition and who have contributed so much to the spirit of these remarkable Games in the various disciplines," she said.

The Britain team has won a total of 47 medals, with 19 golds, 13 silvers and 15 bronzes at the Beijing Olympic Games, ranking Britain a fourth place in the medal table, far higher than the eighth place expected by the British Olympic Association.

But the airport welcome of the team had been cancelled due to health and safety concerns, a spokesman for British Airways said on Sunday. The British public has been asked to stay away from a well-intended heroes' welcome as they land in London's Heathrow Airport to celebrate Britain's best Olympic performance for a century.

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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