A STUNT biker was left devastated after being dropped from the Olympic opening ceremony just 12 days before his long-awaited performance.
Joe Maher, 25, from Westcliff , was told on Sunday his four-minute appearance in the Isles of Wonder spectacular had been cut due to security and time concerns.
He had been preparing for the once-in-a-lifetime performance since he was selected in March, alongside three other British stunt bikers.
Mr Maher said: “When the organisers called me up and said they had some really bad news I knew straight away what it was going to be, but it wasn't until I got off the phone that it started to sink in.
“I was meant to be doing this amazing one-off show and then it was just taken away through no fault of my own.
“I am used to doing trials in front of 5,000 or 10,000 people, but to go to the Olympics and perform in front of millions is a whole new level.”
He began stunt riding at the age of 12, and soon went on to join Mad – the world’s largest mountain bike stunt and trials display team.
Trials riding sees bikers test their impressive handling skills over a range of obstacles.
The Isles of Wonder show, inspired by Shakespeare’s Tempest, was to see four stunt riders showcase their talents alongside 50 BMX riders.
However, due to fears it would overrun and not finish by 12.30am the director of the opening ceremony Danny Boyle, was forced to cut next Friday’s spectacle by 30 minutes.
Mr Maher slammed the organisation of the Olympics and £27million opening ceremony, revealing he only attended four rehearsals due to repeated cancellations.
He said: “If the opening ceremony was today I wouldn’t have a clue what I was doing.
“They have had so many years to prepare, you would have thought everything would be organised way in advance.”
To see clips of Joe in action visit www.youtube.com