London 2012 Olympic site map

By Sheila Hula,  Around the Rings

I always chuckle when I read about the inevitable outrage that follows when people who wanted to buy tickets to the Olympics miss out on the lottery.

My advice: don’t worry. Tickets are ALWAYS available.

Here are some pointers:

See who you know who works at the Games. An employee and oftentimes volunteers will either be given tickets or will know someone who knows someone.

If you know someone who works for a sponsor, check with them. One of the biggest problems organizers deal with is sections of empty seats. Sponsors frequently don’t use all of their tickets. Organizing committees are looking at ways to get these tickets back into circulation.

Once the Games are underway, many people will be unable to use tickets or will want to trade. Check with your friends who do have tickets and make sure they know you are willing to take them off your hands.

Always be sure you deal with a reputable ticket broker, and don’t fall for online scams. Caveat emptor.

Click HERE: Video of Lord Sebastian Coe (chairman of the LOCOG) and Hugh Robertson (UK Minister for Sports and the Olympics) discuss the recent ticket sell-out for the London 2012 games.

London will be my ninth Olympics; the first was Barcelona in 1992. People often ask how to choose which events they should see. Here’s what I tell them:

  • If money is no object, go for the opening and closing ceremonies. They will provide thrills for a lifetime. Opening ceremonies tend to be more formal; closing ceremonies are more fun, because the competition is over and the athletes can relax.
  • Try for the last event of the Games – it also is usually a memorable competition that provides stories for years. In Barcelona, the last event was water polo with the match-up between Spain and Italy. It was the first time I’d ever seen water polo, and the rivalry and sheer physical force of the play was an eye-opener. I kept expecting a fight to break out. But when Italy finally captured gold after three overtime periods – the entire team stood on the deck of the pool with their arms around each other chanting, “Espana! Espana!” To this day it gives me chills.
  • The smaller events can provide the same kind of thrills but without the hassle of the crowds. Look at sports you might not consider otherwise, such as field hockey or archery. In Barcelona my son and I had tickets to archery, which was never of that much interest to me. How quickly things changed when the king of Spain arrived and sat down two or three rows in front of us!

Even if you can’t get to an event, the Olympic spirit can be found many places – and it’s free.

Olympic Park Map

Here are more tips:

  • Visit a live site. LOCOG says there are 20 of them around the country where people can gather to watch the action – live, of course. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and will be free except for July 26 and 27, and August 12.  Click here for more information.
  • Even if you can’t attend an event, you can still enjoy the Olympic atmosphere outside the venues. Pin traders are often set up there, and you’ll see fans, athletes and even a few famous faces among the crowd. Just walk around – or sit – and enjoy the moment. It may be free, but it’s definitely priceless.

Sheila Scott Hula, Publisher

Around the Rings

20 years at #1 for news about the Olympics

Other venues hosting games outside the Olympic Park: