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Katherine Baldwin

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In Hot Pursuit of an Olympics Ticket, But My Patience is Running Short

Posted: 08/06/2012 14:26

I remember the moment London was picked to host the 2012 Olympics. I was squashed into Trafalgar Square with hundreds of other Londoners and tourists and could barely contain my excitement. But with just seven weeks to go until the Games, my enthusiasm is on the wane.

As I spent yet another half hour of my morning clicking on various combinations of events on the Olympics ticketing website, only to be told after a long wait there were no seats left in my chosen sports, my frustration hit a peak.

Adding up the other half-hours I've spent on that site over numerous days in past weeks - I can only do half-an-hour at a time without driving myself crazy and missing a number of work deadlines - that's a considerable chunk of my precious life dedicated to the pursuit of a spot at one of the Olympic venues.

Of course, if I wanted to watch the boxing or table tennis, I might have more luck. I've been trying for athletics, swimming - of the synchronised and non-synchronised variety - diving, gymnastics and beach volleyball - no doubt along with the rest of the world's frustrated ticket searchers. But do I have to settle for sports I have no interest in just to get a flavour of the Olympics? I'm really not that keen on paying to watch two men give each other a bloody nose.

I'm sure, also, that if I wanted to pay large sums of money for a seat, I'd find what I wanted. But the higher price brackets are beyond my means right now and I'm pretty sure none of my friends would want to pay more than £100 to watch a sporting event - so I could end up both out of pocket and sat on my own.

My excitement back in 2005 was justified. The Olympics are sure to be spectacular. And they're on my doorstep. I could even walk to the Olympics Park.

I love big sporting events, and it doesn't get much bigger than this. I get a buzz from being in a crowd and I have a strong sense of national pride and love supporting my team or country. I even braved the rain and cold to wave a Union Jack at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

But I'm starting to wonder whether I should just throw in the towel, head to the coast, and rent out my flat to some friendly overseas visitor who's been luckier than me in their hunt for a precious stadium seat.

Missing the Olympics wouldn't be my first choice. But can I really bring myself to spend any more hours waiting for the London 2012 site to ponder for ten minutes whether it can sell me any seats to the events I've chosen, only to come back with a definitive 'No'? I have work to do - and my sanity to hold on to.

Maybe there's a way to navigate that site without ending up quite so frustrated. Or maybe you just have to plump for table tennis and have done with it. But this isn't quite what I imagined a few years back when I found myself jumping up and down in Trafalgar Square.

Of course, there'll be plenty of free events and big screens all over the capital and I'm sure you don't have to be inside the Olympics Park to get a sense of the occasion. But after so much hype and anticipation, a trackside seat at the athletics or a poolside spot at the swimming would be really nice.

But maybe it is time to be less picky about my sports. Or perhaps it's just about revelling in the fact that one of the biggest shows on earth is coming to my town, ticket or no ticket.

As I ponder my options, if anyone has a couple of Olympic seats they'd like to sell - keeping in mind my aversion to boxing and my lukewarm attitude to table tennis - you know where I am. And failing that, would anyone like to rent my flat?

 

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