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Fireworks Banned from 2012 London Olympics?

By Duncan Mackay in Acapulco
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

October 24 - Fireworks could be banned from the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics if a controversial proposal that was put forward here is adopted.

Sri Lanka's National Olympic Committee called for the ban for "environmental reasons".

Hemasiri Fernando, the President of the Sri Lanka Olympic Committee, raised concerns about the polluting effects of fireworks during a joint meeting of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) ruling Executive Board and NOC's.

He claims that it would helps reduce harmful emissions and said laser shows could replace fireworks.

IOC President Jacques Rogge said the issue would be referred to their Sport and Environment Committee for further examination.

"I'm not saying it's going to happen but we are going to study it in a very serious way," said Rogge, who also asked the Sri Lankans for more information on the carbon footprint of fireworks.

The firework display for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing two years ago were the most spectacular in the history of the Games.

It featured 29,000 shells exploding over the Bird's Nest Stadium and cost an estimated $20 million (£13 million), although it later emerged that parts of the display had been digitally-faked on television.

There were not so many fireworks at the Vancouver Winter Olympics earlier this year but they still played an important part in the ceremonies.

Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Executive Director for the Olympic Games, warned a balance had been to struck.

"We are advocates of environment and sustainability but we have to try provide fun to the people," he said.

Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012, who is here to present a progress report on the capital's preparations for the Games, refused to be drawn into a row.

He told insidethegames: "We've only just put our creative teams together and they have not properly reported back to us on the progress they've made yet.

"So we haven't got remotely anywhere near making decisions or discussion about what is going to feature in the ceremonies."

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