British athletes may skip London Opening Ceremony

Maggie Hendricks
Fourth-Place Medal

What's an Olympic Opening Ceremony without Olympic athletes? We may find that out in London next year, as several high-profile British athletes are contemplating boycotting the Opening Ceremony.

Coaches have already banned the entire British track and field squad from taking part in the London 2012 ceremony, even though they will not be competing until at least a week later. Britain's swimming team is likely to follow suit.

It means spectators who have paid as much as $3,280 for a ticket will almost certainly be deprived of seeing big names such as the heptathlete Jessica Ennis, the swimmer Rebecca Adlington and the teenage diver Tom Daley parade through the Olympic stadium, The Sunday (London) Times reported.

Phillips Idowu, the triple jumper, will also skip the event, while doubts remain over the attendance of Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, the Olympic cycling champions.

The problem? Staging for the Opening Ceremony can take up to eight hours. For much of it, the athletes are standing and walking. It's common practice for athletes who are competing soon after the ceremony to skip it, but the time spent on the ceremony is discouraging all athletes to participate.

Olympic organizers are doing everything they can to prevent this mass boycott from happening. For the Beijing Olympics, athletes were bussed to the Birds Nest, the ceremony site, which caused the big lines and need for standing, but London 2012 notes that the Olympic Village is within walking distance of the stadium.

From an athlete's perspective, you don't want to derail your medal hopes just to stand through a glitzy ceremony, but British athletes, you're the last ones to enter the stadium. Carry a pocket chair, and sit down and relax when you can, but go to the ceremony. One of the most chill-inducing moments of the Olympic Opening Ceremony is when the host country's athletes walk into the stadium and their country gets to cheer them on. After years spent preparing for the games, the United Kingdom should not be denied that.

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