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Bike stunts cut from Olympics opening ceremony

4½ minutes of BMX among 30 minutes on cutting room floor


Cycling may be one of the sports Britain expects to include in the medal tally at the London Olympics, but a planned sequence featuring stunt riding won't feature in the opening ceremony, Games organisers have admitted.

According to the Guardian, the 4 ½ minute BMX sequence is part of 30 minutes of cuts made to the opening ceremony to ensure it finishes between midnight and 12:30, leaving spectators time to get home via public transport.

During dress rehearsals for the ceremony that strung together segments for the first time, it was found that the whole show was in danger of over-running. 

Organisers and the International Olympic Committee are reported to be keen to keep the show length under control both to give the 80,000 spectators time to travel home afterwards and to encourage athletes to participate.

The length of the parade is the most unpredictable aspect of the opening ceremony as athletes don't decide until the day to take part. If it's raining, some may decide to stay in the athletes village rather than stand around for several hours.

Show director Danny Boyle is rumoured to have been annoyed at the cuts, though the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) played this down.

“In any kind of production, things end up on the cutting room floor,” a LOCOG spokeswoman said. “Danny is an award-winning film director. He understands that.

“Performers are rehearsing sections and transitions to ensure they are as tight as possible. This is normal in any production whether it be theatre or ceremonies.

“We need to make sure the show comes in on time to make sure spectators can get home on public transport so we have taken the tough decision to cut a small stunt bike sequence of the show. We will be paying contracts in full and giving full credit in the programme. The show is set to finish between 12 and 12.30am.”

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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