Organizers: Injured ceremony dancer could be paralyzed

Updated: August 18, 2008, 2:37 AM ET
Reuters

BEIJING -- A dancer who was injured during a rehearsal for the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony could be paralyzed, Games organizers said on Monday after weeks of speculation.

Games vice president Wang Wei had repeatedly said he did not know of the dancer's medical condition after she fell on her head and back from a 3-meter high platform.

"It was a very heavy fall," Wang said. "It will take at least six months to find out if the dancer will be paralyzed."

Games organizers, who have had their share of criticism regarding the Aug. 8 Opening Ceremony, had refused to comment on the injury despite widespread media interest.

The spectacular 4-hour Opening Ceremony seen by some 1 billion people around the world was hit by controversy after it became known that parts of a breathtaking fireworks display were either pre-recorded or enhanced through computers.

It also turned out that a young girl singing the "Ode to the Motherland" at the ceremony was only lip-synching for another girl who had a better voice but was not as suitable for television, according to organizers.

A group of children listed as being from regions across China wearing their ethnic costumes then turned out to be all members of the dominant Han ethnic group.

Local media have reported Opening Ceremony producer Zhang Yimou had visited the dancer in hospital, saying he had felt responsible for her injuries.

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