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Young athletes light Olympic cauldron during Opening Ceremony to kick off 2012 Summer Olympics in London

Young athletes light Olympic cauldron during Opening Ceremony to kick off 2012 Summer Olympics in London

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Rock stars, smokestacks, nurses, Union flags, spectators, fireworks, a meadow and… sheep. (Oh, and a Queen, a parachuting Queen, a Beatle, a large Lord Voldemort, a nod to British Literature and David Beckham on a speedboat).

The 2012 London Summer Olympic Games have officially begun in a verdant display of British glory. The man behind the ceremony is no other than Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, known for films including “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Trainspotting.” The budget for the ceremony is less than half of the estimated spending on the Beijing equivalent in 2008, reported Reuters, coming in at about 27 million pounds or $42 million.

Over the course of the next 17 days, some 10,500 athletes from more than 200 countries will compete for an Olympic gold.
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91 Awesome Photos from the 70-day Torch Relay ahead of the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics

91 Awesome Photos from the 70-day Torch Relay ahead of the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics

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Some 8,000 people will carry the Olympic flame over the 70-day Torch Relay until July 27, when the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony will be ignited in London to kick off the Olympic games.

Here’s a look at the past 70 days as the Olympic flame has been making its way throughout the United Kingdom.
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Olympians welcomed to London with colorful song and dance

Olympians welcomed to London with colorful song and dance

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Athletes from around the world were welcomed and greeted by a colorful parade of performers ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games in Olympic Park. Like a sight out of Dorothy’s visit to the Emerald City, each country was honored at the Welcoming Ceremony. Dancing, waving, and celebrating the competitive sport of the Games, participants also had an opportunity to sign the Truce Wall.

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July 24 Photo Brief: Batman shooting memorial, summer Santas, the search for Mona Lisa

July 24 Photo Brief: Batman shooting memorial, summer Santas, the search for Mona Lisa

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A makeshift memorial honors the 12 victims of Friday’s Colorado theater shooting, the annual World Santa Claus Congress visits a zoo in Denmark, intimate apparel from the mid-1400’s go to university and more in today’s daily brief.
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Strange family and friends descend on the Summer Olympics

Strange family and friends descend on the Summer Olympics

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It’s hard to miss the following “family” while sifting through thousands of daily news photos. Gary Stretch, “Space Cowboy,” and the “Monsters of Schlock” are a few of the members of the “The Royal Family of Strange People.” Acts from this exotically-talented family tree will be on display until September 29th at the Priceless London Wonderground, next to the Jubilee Gardens, feeding spectators of the Summer Olympics with it’s strange fruit.

Photographer Oli Scarff of Getty Images caught the following sneak peek, and who knows, maybe even Queen Elizabeth might catch this other “royal family” show this summer.

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July 19 Photo Brief: Full monty fireman, big cat moms and tennis goes orange

July 19 Photo Brief: Full monty fireman, big cat moms and tennis goes orange

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White lion and Siberian tiger cubs get a bath, an all orange tennis player plays in Beijing, Spanish firefighters protest against funding cuts and more in today’s daily brief.
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July 17 Photo Brief:The President and an Orangutan both get a kiss

July 17 Photo Brief:The President and an Orangutan both get a kiss

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An Orangutan gets a birthday kiss, a deadly shooting in Toronto kills two, strange Tiger golf fans in Britain and more in today’s daily brief.

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July 8 Photo Brief: Roger Federer wins seventh Wimbledon Title, rebels seize towns in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

July 8 Photo Brief: Roger Federer wins seventh Wimbledon Title, rebels seize towns in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

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Roger Federer wins seventh Wimbledon Title, M23 rebels seize three towns over the weekend in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and more in today’s daily brief.
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