Byline: John Leicester AP Sports Writer
LONDON -- This world city that needs no introduction but could do with an Olympic-sized pick-me-up in the midst of economic recession launches the 2012 Summer Games with a spectacular opening ceremony today that faces a unique challenge: to be as memorable as Beijing's planet-wowing, money-no-object extravaganza of 2008.
The British capital will set itself apart, as it has so often down the centuries, by being different.
Beijing's curtain raiser featured 2,008 pounding drummers and a cauldron-lighter who seemed to float in the air of the Bird's Nest stadium.
London will have 70 sheep, 12 horses, 10 chickens and nine geese -- recruited by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle along with a cast and crew of 10,000 to present a quirky, humorous and vibrant vision of quintessential Britain, its history and future.
London is not the same as it was when the games were awarded seven years ago. Its serenity and confidence were shaken by riots last year and by terror bombings on the transport network that killed 56 …