Gallery: London lights up its fiery cauldron at the 2012 Olympics

It's an Olympics tradition to have torch runners carry the "motherflame" and light up the Olympic cauldron. In 2008, Beijing's cauldron resembled a scroll. On Friday, London showed off its cauldron, a dandelion-like design with 204 petals, one for each participating nation.

Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the 2012 London Olympics cauldron has 204 matching stainless steel stems that rise up to form a giant 8.5-meter torch that weighs a whopping 16 tons. And just like a dandelion scattering into the winds, each of the 204 petals will be brought to each competing country as soon as the games are over.

Beautiful as Heatherwick's cauldron is, its choice of placement is not without controversy. Shrouded by secrecy when it was snuck into the Olympic Stadium to avoid leaks, the cauldron has been blasted by media and visitors for being relocated to a spot that is roughly where the 1948 London Olympics cauldron sat — a spot that can't be easily be seen by the public.

Heatherwick has shot back at the grumpy remarks with his defense that 15 million people have already seen the flame and that its "hidden" placement is not a big deal.

However you feel about the London cauldron, at least it's pretty. Very pretty. Take pride in knowing that we have something to watch other than Breaking Bad reruns.

Olympic Ceremonies Tumblr, via Designboom

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