China has inaugurated the 29th summer Olympics with a glittering opening ceremony combining 5,000 years of its history. Fireworks exploded across the Bird's Nest stadium as Greece led the parade of athletes from 204 nations. Attending the four-hour long extravaganza were 80 foreign heads of state including US President George W. Bush, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Over the next 16 days, 10,500 athletes will compete for 302 gold medals.
Fireworks during the Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing