The organising committee responsible for Britain’s 2012 Olympic Games is playing down expectations of the opening ceremony in London, after witnessing China’s extravagant, £20bn spectacle on Friday.
“I think the Beijing Games could end up being unique,” said Paul Deighton, the committee’s chief executive. “Their ceremonial burning of a 200-foot high pile of money may never be bettered, unfortunately – certainly it looks like, by 2012, the whole of Britain won’t be worth £20bn. We’ll have to be extravagantly wasteful in a cheaper way. We’re setting up a feasibility study to look into an endangered species theme – mountain gorillas, maybe, or pandas. I quite like the panda option myself - it links nicely back to China, doesn’t it? We could round up every surviving member of the species and make them all dance round the stadium for the entertainment of the crowd - and the estimated four billion viewers watching on television - before beheading them all on a giant guillotine and selling their severed heads as souvenirs of the first public extinction in history. Now that would be something to tell your grandchildren about in years to come, wouldn’t it?”