The major transitional element of today's London Olympics opening ceremony was a downtempo performance of adoptive sporting anthem "Abide With Me" by Scottish singer Emeli Sandé. The song and accompanying dance were a tribute to the victims of the 7/7 terror attacks in London that claimed 52 victims days after the 2012 Summer Olympic hosts were named. (It's also been suggested the performance was a memorial to the war dead.)
Regardless, it was a rather significant and emotional moment in the opening ceremony, coming just before the parade of nations—and it wasn't aired in the United States. Instead, viewers were treated to a lengthy and meaningless Ryan Seacrest interview of Michael Phelps. NBC regularly excises small portions of the opening ceremony to make room for commercials, but we've never heard of them censoring out an entire performance—especially to air an inane interview. We've asked NBC why they didn't air the tribute, and if they get back to us we'll let you know what they say. In the meantime, enjoy the performance everyone else in the world saw. [BBC]
Update (12:25 a.m.): Some readers have commented the official media guide to the opening ceremony makes no reference to 7/7. The sheer number of news stories that cite the performance as a tribute to its victims (as well as the performance itself) gives us pretty good confidence that the memorial was its theme. Here's the prepared BBC remarks as aired:
Ladies and gentlemen, please pause silent for our memorial wall for friends and family who can't be here tonight. The excitement of that moment in Singapore seven years ago when England won the games was tempered the next day with sorrow from the events of July 7th that year. A wall of remembrance for those no longer here to share in this event.
Metro reporter Cassandra Garrison told me the segment's choreographer Akram Khan did not mention 7/7 in his press conference on the performance, explaining it instead to be about "mortality."
Update (Aug. 10): Full video (cough, cough) removed at IOC's insistence. We've edited the performance down to 30 seconds.
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