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Olympics opening ceremony slashed by half an hour over fears G4S security shambles
|Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:38 am
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Olympics opening ceremony slashed by half an hour over fears G4S security shambles could cause chaos for spectators
The security shambles that has engulfed London 2012 has now forced the £27million Opening Ceremony to be slashed by half an hour, it was revealed today.
Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle's spectacle has been cut to three hours to ensure the 80,000 fans in the Olympic Stadium do not get stranded and unable get home on Friday, July 27.
The extravaganza was due to finish at 12.30pm but to will now be around midnight to allow people enough time to get on packed public transport.
Ongoing fears over security also means Games organisers want more time to get the huge crowd safely out of the Olympic Stadium.
For London 2012's much-anticipated Opening Ceremony, which will start at 9pm, the Olympic Stadium is to be transformed into a British rural idyll, complete with real cows, sheep and a horse-drawn plough.
But scenes have now been shortened and one bike stunt scene has been scrapped completely to avoid misery for spectators coming to Stratford, east London for the event.
The Stadium will be packed with 80,000 spectators, 16,000 athletes, 10,000 performers, 70 sheeps, 12 horses, ten chickens, three cows, two goats and even dogs and geese.
One billion people around the world will be watching.
'The show has been cut because of fears that the checkpoints couldn't cope with the huge rush in and out of the stadium,' a London 2012 source told The Sun.
'It's not just crowds of fans, athletes and performers G4S and our soldiers will have to cope with - it's dozens of live animals as well.
'All will have to be checked and searched before being allowed into the secure area. It's a huge logistical nightmare.'
A London 2012 spokesman told MailOnline: 'We need to make sure the show comes in on time, to make sure spectators can get home on public transport. 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.'
It is yet another damning blow for security company G4S after thousands of armed forces and police were brought in because they couldn't provide enough staff themselves.
Yesterday boss Nick Buckles, whose company's share value had plummeted by £400 million, admitted to MPs that their handling of the Olympic contract was a 'humiliating shambles'.
The opener will include a cricket match, real horses pulling a plough and ducks paddling in a lake.
There will even be an artificial cloud to produce rain, to reflect typical British weather.
Performers involved in the event have been sworn to secrecy, rehearsals had taken place behind steel fencing and only a handful of people were privy to the full details.
But as preparations for the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony got underway, organisers forgot one crucial detail – there is no roof on the Olympic stadium and the entire process was being filmed from above.
Last month, aerial images emerged of a ‘secret’ set design based on Britain’s longest running soap EastEnders.
Artistic director Mr Boyle, is still not revealing any more details and said: ‘We want people to discover it for themselves on the night.
'We want it to be a puzzle until the unveiling, so that people can experience it as it goes on.’
Scuba Divers support the Games in 2012, do you? Anonymous