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Last Updated: Sunday August 24 2008 16:49 GMT

London accepts Olympic challenge

The closing ceremony at Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium

Beijing has handed the Olympic flag to London, triggering the start of a four-year countdown to the 2012 Games.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson accepted the flag during a magnificent three-hour closing ceremony inside China's national 'Bird's Nest' stadium.

The celebrations included huge firework and dancing displays, and appearances from David Beckham and Leona Lewis.

Many think the Beijing Games have been the best ever. Now the world's watching to see if the UK can match them.

The London bus being driven through Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium
The top of the bus turned into a stage
During the closing ceremony, the UK gave everyone a taste of what to expect in 2012.

A red London double decker bus entered the Bird's Nest Stadium, followed by Beijing medal winners Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton on bikes.

As the roof of the bus turned into a stage, David Beckham emerged to kick a football into the crowds and Leona Lewis performed with ageing rocker Jimmy Page.

UK celebrations

Dancers performing during the closing ceremony of the Beijing Games
Back in the UK, the closing celebrations were shown on 30 giant screens across the home nations to get everyone in the mood for the 2012 Games.

Thousands of people in London also got the chance to go to a free concert in front of Buckingham Palace to celebrate the start of the city's Olympic reign.