Image text: Fireworks explode during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Stadium.
IOC president, Jacques Rogge, described the opening ceremony as "spectacular" and "unforgettable." Steven Spielberg hailed it as "arguably the grandest spectacle of the new millennium." Once the clock struck 8.08 pm at the Bird's Nest, more than 15,000 performers united to produce a grand spectacle. The highlight of the opening celebrations was the lighting of the Olympic flame. Chinese gymnast Li Ning seemed to be air borne as he headed towards the cauldron to light the Olympic flame. The extravaganza cost a whopping US$100 million.