Olympic Opening Ceremonies

- 2012-06-28T15:38:43Z

Photograph by Dave Poultney/LOCOG

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The Unveiling

Each Olympics opens and closes with ceremonies, parties that celebrate the host nation's culture using music, performers and fireworks. Each ceremony is different but must feature a parade of athletes, led by the Greeks, the lighting of the Olympic cauldron and the opening of the games by the head of state.

The closing ceremony features the handover of the Olympic flag to the next host city and the extinguishing of the flame. Most of the protocol was set up by the 1920 games hosted by Antwerp, Belgium.

Left, Danny Boyle, artistic director of the London 2012 Olympic Games, stands with a group of volunteers as he unveils a model of the 2012 opening ceremony, in London, on June 12, 2012.

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