24 AUGUST 2008

In probably the biggest free kick of his life, David Beckham marked the beginning of London 2012 on Sunday as Beijing said goodbye to the Olympic Games.

With singing sensation Leona Lewis and rock icon Jimmy Page watching on, the LA Galaxy star fired a football into the crowd at the Bird's Nest stadium. After a mad scramble, it was picked up by one of the Chinese officials, who couldn't stop smiling at his luck.

The shot was the finishing touch to an impressive display of British talent to mark the Olympics coming to London in four years time.

Just moments before, The X Factor winner Leona and Jimmy had rocked the Games' closing ceremony with a thumping version of Whole Lotta Love. The pair emerged from out the top of a red London bus, the focal point for the dancing and singing, to tower over the crowd.

The entertainment began when London Mayor Boris Johnson received the Olympic Flag from his Beijing counterpart. The normally exuberant politician looked humbled yet proud as he waved the colours in front of the stadium – and the worldwide audience.

Then, as the emblematic Greenwich Time Signal rang out, London started the party that won't stop until 2012.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
LA Galaxy's star player prepares for the kick that will mark the beginning of London 2012Photo: © Getty Images Click on photos for gallery
Photo: © Alphapress.com
High above the stadium, Leona - resplendent in gold - thrills the crowd with her version of Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love, alongside rocker Jimmy PagePhoto: © Getty Images
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