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What a Finishing Kick at the Beijing Games

Wow. What a finish of the four-hour opening ceremonies of the Beijing Games.

It almost defies description. Li Ning, the Chinese gymnast who won three gold medals in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, was chosen to light the Olympic torch during a high-wire act.

He circled the stadium holding a torch while running against a red print background while attached to wires. As he completed his 360 degree run, a huge white Olympic torch wrapped in red became visible and he lit it with his torch as chilling music played. That was followed by an incredible fireworks display.

NBC carries the ceremonies starting at 7:30 tonight. As interesting as the Parade of Nations can be, they do tend to get a bit long and the obligatory speeches at the end don't help. But if you're tempted to go to bed at 11 p.m., think again. Ning's run and the entire ending can't be missed.

-- Alan Pergament

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