The 2012 Olympic flame is officially alight.
The flame, which will burn throughout the Summer Games in London, was lit at in an elaborate ceremony in Olympia, Greece, this morning.
The Associated Press described how, amid the ruins of the 2,600-year-old Temple of Hera, a Greek actress dressed as a "high priestess" invoked the Ancient Greek sun god Apollo before using a mirror to focus the sun's rays and set the torch burning.
The method is highly symbolic, the BBC explained: the Olympic flame represents purity because it comes directly from the sun.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge described it as "a beacon for the Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect ... a symbol of fellowship and peace."
A torch lit from the flame is now on the first leg of its two-week relay around Greece.
Some 490 torch bearers will carry the flame the length and breadth of Greece, before it is transferred by airplane to the United Kingdom on May 18.
It will then go on a 70-day journey around the UK, borne by 8,000 volunteers. It is due to reach the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, ready for the opening ceremony.