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.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.