Stat of the day: £81m

The new budget for the Olympics opening ceremony: it's doubled after organisers expressed fears it would be 'underwhelming'.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
What price a ‘great national moment’? No less than £81m, apparently - that’s the amount that’s been set out to pay for the Olympics opening ceremony after organisers admitted that the result of the original £40bn budget might be a little, er, underwhelming. To be fair to them, the British opening ceremony has a lot to live up to - after all, the previous opening ceremony in Beijing involved 2,000 synchronised drummers, thousands of performers and an acrobat (/gold medal-winning gymnast) running horizontally around the stadium.

But the Government has been careful to say that it’s not planning to compete with the Chinese. ‘That’s an army race we won’t win,’ said sports minister Hugh Robertson. Instead, it’s promising an event that’s both ‘epic and intimate’, involving 20,000 volunteer performers across four shows (the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics and Paralympics).

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