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SBD Global/July 19, 2012/Olympics
Tension Between Boyle, Broadcaster Disrupting Opening Ceremony Rehearsals
Published July 19, 2012
RUNNING LATE: In London, Hopkins & Gibson reported that London 2012 organizers have admitted that they have had to cut the length of Boyle's opening ceremony "to ensure that spectators can get home." About 30 minutes of the ceremony has been cut, which will ensure that the 80,000 spectators -- including up to 120 heads of state -- "are not left stranded." Despite the ongoing security saga and fears that it may extend the time it takes to get into the Olympic Park, security "was not believed to be a consideration." But there have been "longstanding fears that the ceremony would overrun its appointed finishing time of between midnight and 12:30am." One sequence featuring stunt bikes "has been axed altogether" and other sections tightened up to ensure an earlier finish (GUARDIAN, 7/18).
SETTING THE TONE: In London, Ashling O'Connor reported that during dress rehearsals, it "emerged that the show would end as much as half an hour overtime." This would risk spectators missing the last Tube train, "which leaves from Stratford at 2:30am." Some stations would be "kept open further down the line until as late as 3:30am." The BMX bike riders whose scene was cut have "had their contracts paid out" (LONDON TIMES, 7/18). Also in London, Paul Kelso reported that there is "particular concern that were the show to overrun and leave spectators stranded it could "set the tone for the start of the Games." This would be similar to when "problems on the opening night of the Millennium Dome coloured perceptions of the Greenwich arena for years afterward" (TELEGRAPH, 7/18).