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Olympic Fans Go Shopping

  • Selah Hennessy

LONDON — Most people who go to the Olympic Games are hoping to be entertained by world-class sports. And for many, there is a second goal: buying a souvenir to prove they were there.
People have been flooding into the department store John Lewis, which is right by the Olympic Park, to buy their official games merchandise.
Inside, Olympic imagery is splattered across just about every product you can imagine.
It's proven popular with the crowds, says the store's managing director, Noel Saunders. "We had been warned to expect maybe Christmas-equivalent volumes but it's been better than Christmas. Every single day we've traded tens-of-thousands of people, that's not per week, that's every single day we have traded," he said.
With its one beady eye, the Olympic mascot Wenlock has been turned into a furry stuffed animal. That has been a popular sell. But cuddly toys are just the start.
Visitors to the Games can buy an Olympic-edition of the popular board game Monopoly, a key ring decorated with the Olympic mascots, mugs, aprons, paper weights or, for around $150, special Olympic tennis shoes made by Adidas.
Saunders says there is quite a range of products. "It's sublime and ridiculous really. Sublime to mean the gold coins for almost £3-thousand ($5-thousand). The ridiculous, but cute and wonderful, is the humble duck. A little plastic duck bearing the emblem or the flag or the badge of a particular country. They have been the single best selling items this Games," he said.
Amid the rushing crowds at the Olympic Park, a few shoppers showed VOA their goods.
"Okay let me see what I got here. Ok, a passport holder. That's cool, it says London 2012, so that's cool... I guess," said one woman.
With tickets selling well for the upcoming Paralympics, John Lewis is expecting many more visitors in the weeks to come.
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