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Fourth-Place Medal

London Olympics Opening Ceremony cut short for crowd control; sorry, stunt bikers

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As an Oscar-winning director, Danny Boyle likely has final cut on the films he creates. As the director of the London Olympics' Opening Ceremony … yeah, not so much.

Boyle was asked by the International Olympic Committee to trim down the running time for the July 27 opener at Olympic Stadium to ensure that it ends at midnight, as rehearsals were pushing it towards 12:30 a.m. That means all 10,000 participants have to pick up the pace.

[ Related: Olympic Opening Ceremony to include sheep and mosh pits ]

Alas, that also means that a four-minute segment on professional stunt bike riding has been cut completely.

(And wouldn't you love to see the reaction of a stunt bike rider who was just deemed less important than 70 sheep and three cows? Eh, at least they still get paid.)

(The bikers, we mean; we assume the sheep just follow along and do what they're told.)

IOC organizers told the AP they wanted the Ceremony shorter "so athletes can get enough sleep," which apparently is code for "transportation concerns for the 80,000 people attending the ceremonies."

[ Photos: London's Olympic Venues ]

But a spokeswoman for LOCOG, the Games' organizer, told the Evening Standard that the cuts to the three-hour ceremony were not done out of security concerns:

"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," said the spokeswoman. "We need to make sure the show comes in on time, to make sure spectators can get home on public transport"

How is the director handling these last-minute alterations to the Opening Ceremony? According to the Mirror (for what it's worthy), not so well:

A source said: "Danny was absolutely livid when he was told that the ceremony was going to be reduced.

"The volunteers have spent months and months preparing for this event and he was not prepared to allow any of the hard work to be sacrified. He said he would not accept it and believed it unfair not only on the spectators, but also on people watching at home on television."

Well, in fairness, "Slumdog Millionaire" could have used some editing, too.

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