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Keep ceremonies short, Samaranch tells Beijing

Written by: Staff
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BEIJING, Mar 23 (Reuters) Former Olympic chief Juan Antonio Samaranch has advised Beijing organisers to make sure the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Games do not drag on too long.

Opening ceremonies in particular have become more and more elaborate at recent Games, including pageantry and pop stars in addition to the traditional nation-by-nation parade of athletes, swearing of the Olympic oath and lighting of the Olympic flame.

''I believe the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics will be great ... but the organisers should carefully control the time,'' the Spaniard told state news agency Xinhua at a Sino-Spain forum in Shanghai this week.

Samaranch said that with good organisation, especially in getting the 11,000 or so athletes into the stadium, it was possible to limit the opening ceremony to under 2 hours.

The awarding of the 2008 Games to Beijing in July 2001 was the last significant act of Samaranch's 21-year presidency of the International Olympic Committee, which included five Summer Games.

REUTERS PM KP0919

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