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The sum total of my 2012 Experience: trying to get into ONE Olympic event
Last uploaded : Wednesday 26th Dec 2012 at 11:19
Contributed by : Carol Gould

 

[Editor's Diary Note on Boxing Day 2012]
I have to say the personal event to cause me the most anguish in 2012 aside from the daily terror of my cancer possibly returning again was living in a city in which the once-in-a lifetime experience of the Olympics was being held and not being able to get a ticket -- even to ARCHERY next door at Lord's ! --]

[Editor's diary Notes:]
Monday Aug 13: Well, I tried and tried over the entire fortnight -- as did millions of Londoners and Britons -- but despite scenes on Eurosport and even on the BBC of whole bleachers of empty seats I could not get one single solitary ticket for any Olympic event. When I did get to a payment page for the odd ticket in the range of 20 to 450 it always said the top price was the only one available. I'd no intention of spending 450 but when I tried the experiment of going to the 450 payment page it simply 'died.' And no box offices and no ticket helpline. I found out today that Lord's Cricket Ground, the Olympic venue next door to me, was only 'allowed' to sell 4,500 seats with a capacity for 28,000. Reason? People would not be able to see the archery targets. Have they heard of a TV screen? Had they sold the full house they would have made close to 600,000 EVERY DAY, which would have paid for the screen and left a huge amount to spare. Tickets for the Prime Minister, the Mayor and their respective entourages every day at every venue, though..

Monday night Aug 7: I found a ticket for hockey at the Riverbank Arena in Olympic Park ! I went without delay to the payment page but here is the message I got:
'No tickets found
Sorry, no exact matches were found. If you would like to amend your search, you will need to remove the session(s) you have requested from your shopping list. Then you can try one or more of the following options:
Reduce the number of tickets requested per session
Change the price category
Select another sport or session'
[Further editor's note:]
As I wrote this on Monday morning the price of an athletics ticket had gone up to 750 from 450 when I looked at the site the night before. I think it is wrong for the official ticketing organisation to be 'touting' to UK customers. And yes, you may ask : Why can't a broadcaster get a seat? I decided a year ago not to apply for press credentials as cancer treatment had overtaken me but would love to attend as a 'punter' what might be my last Olympics.

London

August 6, 2012

As it was such a lovely afternoon I went down yesterday (Sunday) to Horse Guards Parade to see if I could get into beach volleyball. I am not well and was feeling very shaky but thought it would be good to get some fresh air.

I had noticed on TV all the masses of empty seats at beach volleyball. When I got to Horse Guards there must have been fifty or perhaps even a hundred people like me milling about and wanting a ticket. A crowd of Americans told me they had paid $300 each for tickets from a sports club. Two young American men told me that the empty seats were the talk of the town at home and that American television networks have been known to 'blackout' events where there are large numbers of empty seats.

One of the soldiers on duty told me there were masses of empty places inside but no way to sell the tickets to people like us as there is no 'Box Office' at any Olympic venue or event. Some very anxious people from the Far East were begging the soldiers to sell them tickets but these visitors, their wheely suitcases in tow, simply could not understand the idea of 'no Box Office.' Their anxiety level was something to behold. There were scores of Brazilians wandering about in total bewilderment as to why they could not just 'buy on the door.'

The soldier told me to go over and ask one of the stewards if they would allow me to go to the 'Reconciliation window' but as I spoke to said lady steward a young blonde came over and interrupted. I said I would just like to finish talking, as this is a democracy and mentioned the ridiculous situation vis a vis the ticketing but blow me -- the blonde shouted 'I don't give a sh*^t what you think.' It was funny because my mouth was hanging open in shock and a young guy wrapped in a Union Jack came over and said 'Madam, you must forgive us, we are very free with expletives unlike your fellow Americans.' It occurred to me that Andy Murray had won gold for Britain earlier in the day -- could this young Englishwoman-loutette not be cheerful for at least 24 hours?

Anyway, I sat for about two hours outside the arena hoping I'd come across someone with an extra ticket (They are not expensive -- 20 I can manage) but no luck. The loud blonde went in with a young tattooed chap.

Have a look at this image:
http://www.london2012.com/venue/riverbank-arena/ .

At home last night I watched volleyball live and videoed a bit showing about 1,000 empty seats. Heartbreaking. A woman was interviewed last week on a television news programme and said she had been online for five hours with no luck depsite seeing blocks of empty seats on the live broadcasts. Last night I went online to the 2012 website as I have done every day and night this week but of course received only a 'Sold Out' message in every category. One ticket was available for the Closing Ceremony -- 1,500. There was a ticket for this evening's athletics -- 450. Why should I, a taxpayer and ratepayer, be asked to pay these prices? I, and so many other Londoners are devoted sports fans, but in our own city we can't go to the Olympics.

When I have seen almost entire stadia empty on TV -- for example, at volleyball last week - I think the appalling situation arises from more than just sports club and corporate bloc sales. I was talking to an elderly friend of mine this morning who is utterly heartbroken, as we both live nextdoor to Lord's Cricket Ground where the Archery took place but could not get in despite hundreds of empty seats -- and she theorised that the Olympic authorities made mountains of money from sales to the wealthy and could not care less about the rabble being left out of the events.

Something is rotten -- I would like an explanation.

     

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