The organisers of the London 2012 Olympics have snubbed the RAF's Red Arrows display team in case they offend other nations.
The Red Arrows have performed nearly 4,000 displays world-wide, in over fifty countries, and are regarded as the world's most skilled and famous military aerobatics team.
2012 snub for RAF daredevils
Britain at its best ... Arrows leave red, white and blue trails in breathtaking display
By VIRGINIA WHEELER
September 15, 2007
THE Red Arrows have been banned from performing at the 2012 London Olympics as they are too BRITISH.
Barmy organisers claim the popular RAF display team’s military background “might offend other nations”.
The decision has left pilots, who were set to perform their best-ever display at the opening ceremony, in a state of outrage.
One said yesterday: “We have been simply blown away by this decision.
“For years we have talked about performing a display at the Olympic Games and how magnificent it would be.
“It never crossed our mind we would be banned from the event.”
Supremo ... 2012 organiser Coe
The Arrows, officially named the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, have flown at 4,000 festivals worldwide. But the Department of Culture, Media and Sport ruled last week that the jets were “unsuitable” and “not in keeping with the event as they were too militaristically British”.
The government department is running the event alongside organising committee chairman Lord Sebastian Coe. An insider also suggested the Arrows had ALREADY performed at the Olympics — by doing a fly-past when London won the initial bid.
But the pilot added: “The Red Arrows did indeed perform a fly-past. But that was 2005 and was hurriedly organised.
“We really wanted to put on a world-class display for 2012 — something incredible and never seen before. It would be a showcase of everything that is great about Britain.
“The Red Arrows are as British as the Queen and London buses.
“They’re not an expression of our military power — they’re a source of national pride. But Olympic bosses have said we might offend foreigners. It’s madness.” Yesterday the Department for Culture, Media and Sport appeared to leave room for a U-turn.
A spokesman said: “No decision has yet been made.
“We haven’t made any final arrangements for the opening ceremony yet.”