The story

Fireworks, athletes and pageantry on a scale never before seen in the Olympics opened the Summer Games in Beijing on Friday as the Asian nation kicked off the biggest and most scrutinized Games in history.

Chinese President Hu Jintao declared the Olympics officially open, retired Chinese gymnastics champion Li Ning was carried through the air to light the Olympic cauldron, and pyrotechnics exploded throughout Beijing as the crowd of 91,000 at National Stadium cheered wildly.

It was a stunning display from the nation of 1.3 billion people. Some media observers believe that the Opening Ceremony may be the most-watched television event in history. Read full article »

CNN's Kevin Drew and Emily Chang contributed to this story.

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