The Beijing Olympics ended after a memorable 16 days of competition and world record-breaking. The opening was massive and lavish, focused on China's history, and the finale was another extravagant display of modern, fanciful performances and fireworks.

The ceremony also marked as the hand-off to the 2012 Olympics in London, with Britain's prime minister Gordon Brown and London mayor Boris Johnson on hand. But it's unlikely that London will be able to match the $44 billion spent by the Chinese for these 2008 games--and that doesn't include being able to raze neighborhoods and keep migrant workers out of sight. Perhaps it's lucky NYC didn't win the bid.

The NY Times reported, "Some political analysts say Beijing placed too much importance on the Games, and others said the country failed to live up to its promises to open up and undertake political changes that would improve the country’s human rights record," but still International Olympics Committee president Jacques Rogge said, “The world has learned about China, and China has learned about the world, and I believe this is something that will have positive effects for the long term.”