By Brent Rutemiller
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, November 20. EXPECTED ticket allotments that normally begin flowing downward from Olympic committees to national governing bodies and then to parents and families has apparently stopped.
The Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee (BOCOG), which controls ticket sales has not released the normal allotments to many countries' governing bodies, including the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). The aquatic venue seats more than 17,000 spectators with 6,000 permanent and 11,000 temporary seats available for sale. USA Swimming requested only 120 tickets from various sources for the families of the athletes who will be participating in the games.
Of the 30 all-session tickets, only five tickets for day one prelims have been allotted to USA Swimming from the USOC. The remaining tickets have not been issued to the USOC from BOCOG. The problem is not unique to the USOC. USA Swimming is waiting FINA notification on whether it will be able to fulfill their request for 80.
Similar reports of frustration are being voiced by other countries, all claiming that BOCOG seats are being sold to Chinese nationals leaving a sea of red. This may be the case. Earlier reports indicate that a computer system crashed when tickets first went on sale over the Internet in China causing a shutdown.
To date, USA Swimming has secured only 40 all-session tickets causing great concern for those families who have planned to purchased hotel and travel packages to attend the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Unless BOCOG releases the tickets, 2008 may be the "Stay at Home" Games resulting in a major economic impact for BOCOG. The loss of international visitors and the dollars, euros and pounds that they bring can not be underestimated.
Click here for a similar report published in the Herald Sun.