July 30, 2012
This article, originally entitled “Extraordinary New Olympic Farce As Troops Are Drafted In To Venues Left Half Empty”, was written by Soren Dreier and first published at Zen-Haven
Troops, students and teachers are being drafted in to help end the embarrassing spectacle of empty seats at Olympic venues.
London 2012 chairman Lord Coe today revealed that servicemen were being brought in at the last minute to fill the gaps in stadia.
Invitations have also been given to students and teachers from London schools, he added.
The desperate measure was announced as photographs showed Games venues with large swathes of empty seats for the second day in a row.
Lord Coe said fans with tickets could have them upgraded so they can sit in more expensive areas reserved for VIP members of the ‘Olympic family’.
He added that tickets for sports held in double sessions, such as hockey, basketball, water polo and handball, were being recycled and re-sold as people leave.
This system is similar to the one employed at the Wimbledon tennis championships, where spectators leaving show courts can hand back their tickets to be bought by someone else.
He said: ‘It’s not easy to ask people (in the accredited Olympic family) at the beginning of the Games to ask people exactly how, where and when they’re going to be in those seats.
‘This morning was a very good example, we looked at gymnastics, we could see at this moment there are empty seats in the accredited area – the rest of the venue is looking pretty good this morning, there’s a good atmosphere.
‘So we were able to move those troops from – I’m not quite sure whether they were on a rest period or whether it was a transition from work through to a rest period – but they’re sitting there enjoying the gymnastics.
‘We can and we have moved them in there.
‘Yesterday, we got pre-accredited students and teachers from the local boroughs. We were able to put 115, 120 into a venue.’
Olympics organisers had to call in extra military personnel before the Games after private firm G4S failed to provide enough civilian security guards.
Asked whether the military would always be brought in whenever anything went wrong during the Games, Lord Coe joked: ‘We won’t be cancelling leave to make sure they’re sitting in our venues. It will resolve itself quite quickly.’
Lord Coe also dismissed suggestions that ticket-holders who failed to turn up should be stripped of their accreditation.
‘Let’s not run away with ourselves here,’ he said. ‘We’re talking about an issue on the first couple of days.
‘It’s not for the organising committee to remove accreditation.’
Lord Coe called for the row to be kept in perspective, claiming that thousands of people were watching events and several steps were being taken to resolve the issue.
‘Let’s put this in perspective,’ he said. ‘Those venues are stuffed to the gunwales. The public are in there.
This article was posted: Monday, July 30, 2012 at 1:59 am