BEIJING - Olympic officials insisted yesterday the decision to have one girl lip-sync another's voice during a song in the Beijing Games' opening ceremony was not about who was cuter, but about achieving the best overall performance.
Organisers were put on the defensive after the musical director of last Friday's games curtain raiser revealed the last-minute switch.
In a sparkling red dress, nine-year-old Lin Miaoke soared on wires above the Bird's Nest stadium and mouthed the words of Ode to the Motherland in front of 91000 people attending the ceremony and a television audience estimated in the billions.
But the voice everybody heard was a pre-recorded version of the song by seven-year-old Yang Peiyi, whom officials decided sounded better than Miaoke but did not look as good.
Sun Weide, spokesman for the organising committee, said the decision to use both girls was made by the artistic director after consulting with broadcasters, who had recommended the change. See page 16. -Sapa-AP