Lifestyle & Belief

Akram Khan miffed that NBC cut his Olympics opening ceremony tribute to 7/7 bombing victims


Choreographer Akram Khan and performers dance in a scene depicting the struggle between life and death during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)


Michael Regan

So, first NBC decided not to live broadcast the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony. 

When they finally did air Danny Boyle's uber-British extravaganza — during the US primetime, after the rest of the world had already seen it — NBC ruined the show with inane commentary from Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer. 

And what's more, they cut out choreographer Akram Khan's tribute to the victims of the 7/7 bombings, instead airing an interview with Ryan Seacrest and swimming star Michael Phelps.

Khan told the Associated Press he felt "disheartened and disappointed" that NBC edited out his segment about mortality, which featured Khan himself, a 9-year-old boy, and 50 dancers in an apparent tribute to the 52 victims of the July 7, 2005 bombings in London.

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"I am really sad that I couldn't show the work in America, and that really upsets me, because I don't think it's any less or more than any of the other pieces," he told the AP.

"Is it not accessible enough? Is it not commercial enough?" Khan wondered.

NBC said the dance performance was not presented to them as a 7/7 tribute, noting that the opening ceremony's program described the segment as dramatizing "the struggle between life and death using such powerful images of mortality as dust and the setting sun." 

While NBC's coverage of the London 2012 opener was widely panned, it still managed to set viewership records.

The Nielsen Company said it was the most-watched opening ceremony of any summer or winter Olympics, with a record 40.7 million Americans tuning in.

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