A string of giant gold discs flicked into life in mid-air as a team of British Olympic and Paralympic athletes switched on the Regent Street Christmas lights.

London 2012 champions including long-jumper Greg Rutherford, rower Helen Storey and four-time gold medallist cyclist Sarah Storey were among 40 athletes who took part in the great annual switch-on.

regent street christmas lights

Fireworks explode at the switch on of the Regent Street Christmas Lights in London

The 12 days of Christmas, the words Team GB and ParalympicsGB, plus holly and berry garlands all appear on the gold discs.

For the first time the lights run the full length of the world-famous central London shopping street.

They run from north of Oxford Circus all the way down to Piccadilly Circus, before continuing south down Lower Regent Street in St James's.

Glover said: "I'm honoured to have been asked to switch on the famous Regent Street Christmas lights - it means so much to be doing so alongside so many other fantastic athletes from Team GB and ParalympicsGB."

David Shaw, of the Regent Street Portfolio at the Crown Estate, said: "We are proud to be able to celebrate the achievements of Team GB and ParalympicsGB in a culmination to an amazing year for London and the UK."

See more pictures from Regent Street in the gallery below

Loading Slideshow...
  • Regent Street Christmas Lights Switch On

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: The Regent Street Christmas Lights at Regent Street on November 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

  • Regent Street Christmas Lights Switch On

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: The Christmas lights are illuminated at Regent Street after being switched on by London 2012 Olympic athletes from Team GB on November 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

  • Regent Street Christmas Lights Switch On

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: The Christmas lights are illuminated at Regent Street after being switched on by London 2012 Olympic athletes from Team GB on November 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

  • Regent Street Christmas Lights Switch On

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: The Regent Street Christmas Lights at Regent Street on November 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

  • Regent Street Christmas Lights Switch On

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: The Regent Street Christmas Lights at Regent Street on November 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

  • Regent Street Christmas Lights Switch On

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: The Regent Street Christmas Lights at Regent Street on November 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

  • Regent Street Christmas Lights Switch On

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: The Regent Street Christmas Lights at Regent Street on November 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

  • Regent Street Christmas Light

    Members of the Olympic and Paralympic teams and Noah Stewart (right) switch on the Regent Street Christmas Lights, London.

  • Regent Street Christmas Light

    Fireworks at the switch on of the Regent Street Christmas Lights, London.

  • Regent Street Christmas Light

    Fireworks at the switch on of the Regent Street Christmas Lights, London.

  • Regent Street Christmas Light

    Fireworks at the switch on of the Regent Street Christmas Lights, London.

  • Regent Street Christmas Light

    Jamie Crick (left), members of the Olympic and Paralympic team and John Suchet (right) at the switch on the Regent Street Christmas Lights, London.

  • Regent Street Christmas Light

    Noah Stewart performs at the switch on of the Regent Street Christmas Lights, London.

  • Regent Street Christmas Light

    The Masques perform at the switch on of the Regent Street Christmas Lights, London.

  • Regent Street Christmas Light

    The St George Choir at the switch on the Regent Street Christmas Lights, London.

  • Regent Street Christmas Light

    The Masques perform at the switch on of the Regent Street Christmas Lights, London.

  • Regent Street Christmas Light

    The Masques perform at the switch on of the Regent Street Christmas Lights, London.

  • Regent Street Christmas Light

    Noah Stewart performs in front of members of the Olympic and Paralympic teams at the switch on of the Regent Street Christmas Lights, London.

  • Regent Street Christmas Light

    (Left - right) Anna Watkins, Helen Glover, Gregg Rutherford, Barney Storey, Sarah Storey and singer Noah Stewart switch on the Regent Street Christmas Lights, London.

  • Regent Street Christmas Light

    (Left - right) Anna Watkins, Helen Glover, Gregg Rutherford, Barney Storey, Sarah Storey and singer Noah Stewart switch on the Regent Street Christmas Lights, London.

  • Regent Street Christmas Lights Switch On

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: (L-R) London 2012 Olympic athletes from Team GB Anna Watkins, Helen Glover, Greg Rutherford, Barney Storey and Sarah Storey switch on the Christmas lights at Regent Street on November 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

  • Regent Street Christmas Lights Switch On

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: (L-R) London 2012 Olympic athletes from Team GB Anna Watkins, Helen Glover, Greg Rutherford, Barney Storey and Sarah Storey switch on the Christmas lights at Regent Street on November 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

  • Regent Street Christmas Lights Switch On

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: The Christmas lights are illuminated at Regent Street after being switched on by London 2012 Olympic athletes from Team GB on November 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

  • Regent Street Christmas Lights Switch On

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: The Christmas lights are illuminated at Regent Street after being switched on by London 2012 Olympic athletes from Team GB on November 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

  • Regent Street Christmas Lights Switch On

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: The Christmas lights are illuminated at Regent Street after being switched on by London 2012 Olympic athletes from Team GB on November 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

  • People gather in London's Regent Street as the Christmas lights are switched on Tuesday Nov. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/David Parry/PA Wire) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE