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Olympic Organizers Respond to Public Complaints of Empty Seats

  • Sean Maroney

A spectator sits amid empty seats at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during a match at the London 2012 Olympics Games July 28, 2012.

A spectator sits amid empty seats at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during a match at the London 2012 Olympics Games July 28, 2012.

Organizers of the London Olympics are trying to calm public backlash over why there have been so many empty seats in the stands in the first days of competition.

Television images showed empty rows of seats at Wimbledon, the Aquatics Centre and other venues, prompting angry complaints from fans, like British schoolteacher Susie Chauvin, who were unable to purchase tickets.

"The empty seats are disappointing. We were watching on TV last evening, and I commented on the fact that there were loads of seats that were not filled. It is a shame that a lot of people like us missed out."

British Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt blamed sponsors for not filling their seats, but London organizing committee Chairman Sebastian Coe said it was mainly Olympic officials and athletes and their guests who had failed to show up.

There are 14 gold medals up for grabs in the second full day of competition. China saw gold early when Guo Wenjun defended her 10 meter air pistol shooting title, helping to extend the country's overall medal lead.

U.S. basketball stars also faced off against their French counterparts, as players like Miami Heat's LeBron James representing America beat the San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker, who is on his native France's team, 98 to 71.

Meanwhile, a failed drug test marred the opening of the women's gymnastics competition after Uzbek gymnast Luiza Galiulina tested positive for a banned diuretic.

The Games last through August 12. More than 10,000 athletes from around the world are competing in 26 sports.
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