The launch of the Beijing Olympics went without a hitch - but wait for the official handover ceremony at the end of the games, when the next host nation - Britain- puts on a display of its “culture” to attract visitors in 2012.
London's strategy for the handover of the Olympic flag at this summer's closing ceremony does not have a red London bus or Pearly Queen — instead, a black hip-hop “dance” group, appropriately calling itself “Zoo nation”, has been paid £2 million to leap about in a bizarre frenzy in front of a TV audience of more than 100 million.
An eight-minute performance led by Zoo Nation, famous for a West End show which features a drug-dealing pimp and a gangster rap soundtrack, will mark the beginning of the London 2012 Olympiad.
Its show, “Into the Hoods”, is set on the fictional Ruff Endz Estate with characters including Spinderella, Rap-on-zel and Jaxx.
The Chinese have already expressed their doubts, with organisers concerned that London's performance could clash with their own plans for an “extremely formal” final event.
A spokeswoman for London's Olympic organising committee said the ceremony would reflect “the best of British, with a range of talent showcasing London's creativity, diversity and youth”.
Alistair Spalding, director of Sadlers Wells dance theatre, said the audience could expect “humour and stories told with hip hop and street dance”. “It is a positive choice and reflects an aspect of London that people don't often think about - a multi-cultural city with a vibrant youth culture,” he said.