Olympic Ticket Fiasco - Take Stock!
Those who I am close to know the anguish I have felt at constantly missing out on Olympic tickets for one of my greatest loves in life, basketball. I have spent somewhere in the region of 20 hours trying to land one of those precious basketball seats in the Olympic Park.
I personally think the ticketing has been the fiasco of these games; it was supposed to involve as many people as possible, yet so many people have missed out. During the first couple of days of the Games, the empty seats inside popular venues were a sickening slap in the face for all those unable to obtain tickets.
In my desperation for these basketball tickets, I took the biggest long shot of my life. I bought an Olympic Park ticket that coincided with a basketball session I would be interested in, if somehow, just somehow, I could get my hands on tickets whilst inside the walls of the Park. This was a £10 ticket bought online (through the normal LOCOG site) that only grants you access to the park - no events! But it turned out to be a definite Games-winning shot!
After the empty seat shock in the first couple of days of the Games, they were keen to experiment with Wimbledon-style resale tickets. By some divine intervention, the experiment fell on the day I was inside the Park walls, and the one and only sport they trialled with was my sport, basketball.
Rumours ran rife inside the Park that resale tickets for USA women would go on sale between 9.15 and 9.45pm that night. We queued for one and a half hours, and those times came and went. Nobody seemed to leave the stadium reselling tickets! Was it all for nothing? I had already decided to forfeit my booked coach home and stay another night round my friend’s flat, booking and paying for another coach home the following day.
There was sudden movement behind the ticket office’s cold metal shutters. There was a giddy moment where we became aware that they had finally received some tickets for resale! However, the hope disappeared as fast as it arrived, and there was a frosty realisation that only a limited number of seats were available. We were 120th or so place in the queue. It was time to go home. We knew that
Like two well-trained soldiers, we kept our honour and saw the mission through. To our amazement, it paid dividends. We got six rows from the front of the queue and we looked at each other: our breathing had become irregular; our feet nervously and sub-consciously started tapping the floor. We started dreaming. What if
We made it to the last row of the queue and we stopped breathing all together. Our hearts sank; it would be just our luck if the shutters came down now. It is bound to happen to us.
We got to the front of the queue and the steward said something like "we think you’ll be fine". She was referring to the tickets, not to the current state of our health. We handed over two £5 notes for the two resale tickets, but I refused to celebrate before the tickets were firmly in my hands. I practically snatched them off the ticket office volunteer when she presented them. They felt heavy, like they were made of gold.
Unlike other lucky ticket recipients, I refused to celebrate in front of the 200 people who were still queuing behind us. But when we got out of shot of the queue, we started laughing hysterically, punching the air in defiance and shrieking in disbelief. We had the tickets. It had all been worth it. We were going in to see USA women about to thrash Angola.
Sadly, we got inside and we were too emotionally drained to enjoy any of it.