The 2008 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony was held at the Beijing National Stadium, better known as the Bird's Nest. It began at 8:00 AM CST (UTC-5) on 8 August 2008. The number 8 is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture.
The ceremony was directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou and was noted for its focus on ancient Chinese culture and creativity. The final ascent to the torch featured Olympic gold medalist Li Ning, who appeared to walk through air around the top ring of the stadium.