NBC Cut Chunk of Olympics Opening Ceremony Paying Tribute to Terrorism Victims in Order to Air Interview

The tribute began by showing faces of the victims. (Photo: BBC)

If you watched the Olympic Opening Ceremonies on NBC Friday, you probably caught a lengthy and rather awkward interview between Ryan Seacrest and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps that seemed just a little out of place. Well, it turns out, it was. Apparently, for unspecified reasons, NBC decided not to air a portion of the opening ceremonies that paid tribute to the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London that claimed 52 victims.

NBC Cut Chunk of Olympics Opening Ceremony Paying Tribute to Terrorism Victims in Order to Air Interview

At one point, the dancers arranged themselves to resemble train tracks. (Photo: BBC)

Deadspin has the story and video of the missing chunk:

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.[...]

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.

NBC Cut Chunk of Olympics Opening Ceremony Paying Tribute to Terrorism Victims in Order to Air Interview

NBC has received sharp criticism for failing to air the tribute. (Photo: BBC)

“I am disappointed,” said Londoner Akram Khan, who choreographed and danced in the segment. “I am really sad that I couldn’t show the work in America, and that really upsets me, because I don’t think it’s any more or less than the other pieces. It brings to mind the question … that maybe it’s too truthful.”

But NBC says it had no indication that the segment was a reference to the terrorist attacks.

“Our program is tailored for the U.S. television audience,” said NBC Sports spokesman Greg Hughes. “It’s a credit to (ceremony director) Danny Boyle that it required so little editing.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.