Fireworks could be fizzled out for Olympics

It`s hard to imagine an Olympic opening or closing ceremony without fireworks exploding in the night sky over a packed stadium.

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2010, 12:22 PM IST

Acapulco: It`s hard to imagine an
Olympic opening or closing ceremony without fireworks
exploding in the night sky over a packed stadium.

That tradition could be on the way out, though, under a
proposal being considered by the International Olympic
Committee.

IOC President Jacques Rogge yesterday said his
organization would study recommendations to eliminate firework
displays in a bid to protect the environment by cutting
harmful emissions.

"I`m not saying we are going to eliminate fireworks,"
Rogge said. "I`m saying we`re going to study it seriously."

Sri Lanka`s national Olympic committee proposed the
measure, suggesting that technology or laser shows could
replace fireworks.

"Environment is environment," said Maxwell De Silva,
secretary general of the Sri Lakan committee. "The clashing of
your ideals is on the one hand saying, `OK, clean games,` on
the other hand you are polluting - it`s a contradiction."

Rogge said he would raise the issue with the IOC
environment commission and Olympic host organizers.

"We have to evaluate the carbon footprint," said IOC
executive board member Thomas Bach of Germany. "If it`s
significant, I think it`s a good idea to speak with the
organizers.”

"I could imagine an opening ceremony without fireworks.
Maybe it`s a matter of taste, but for me it would depend on
the significance of the impact on the environment. If that`s
significant, then why not?"

Gilbert Felli, the IOC`s executive director of the
Olympic Games, said officials need to strike the right balance
between environmental protection and sporting entertainment.

"We are trying to understand if we can have the same
feeling, the same festive aspect, and reducing the footprint
or the energy," he said.

It wouldn`t be the first time the IOC dropped a major
feature of the opening ceremony. Rogge noted that the IOC did
away with the tradition of releasing doves after many of the
birds were burned to death during the lighting of the cauldron
at the opening of the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

"We got a lot of emotions coming from the World Wildlife
Fund and animal protection (groups) and the IOC decided on no
release of doves any more," he said.

London Olympics organizers said they have only started
working on preliminary plans for their opening ceremony, which
will be handled by Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire"
director Danny Boyle.

"We haven`t gotten to the stage of discussing fireworks,"
London 2012 spokeswoman Jackie Brock-Doyle said.

"I will listen to the observations of all 205 national
Olympic committees," London organizing committee head
Sebastian Coe said.

Bureau Report

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