Vacant Olympic Seats to Be Filled by Military, Teachers

Soldiers sit in the empty seats held by the IOC as they watch the women's gymnastics qualification in the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.Soldiers sit in the empty seats held by the IOC as they watch the women's gymnastics qualification in the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.
x
Soldiers sit in the empty seats held by the IOC as they watch the women's gymnastics qualification in the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.
Soldiers sit in the empty seats held by the IOC as they watch the women's gymnastics qualification in the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.
Selah Hennessy
LONDON — The organizing committee of the London Olympic Games has said unfilled seats at competitions may go to the military, teachers and students.  There have been complaints about empty seats during the opening days of the 2012 Games. 
 
The sight of empty seats at Olympic sports venues is a sensitive issue after hundreds of thousands of people failed to get tickets in an initial public lottery. 
 
London Organizing Committee Chairman Sebastian Coe says tickets are being distributed to soldiers and others to fill those seats.   He said no one would object to free tickets for public servants.
 
  • Dana Vollmer of the U.S. reacts after winning the women's 100m butterfly final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 29, 2012. Vollmer set a world record with a timing of 55.98 seconds.
  • Japan's Ryosuke Irie jumps into the water to start his men's 100m backstroke heat during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 29, 2012.
  • Ethiene Cristina Gonser Franco of Brazil (C) prays whilst teammate Harumy Mariko de Freitas performs on the balance beam during the women's gymnastics qualification at the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.
  • China's Deng Linlin performs on the uneven bars during the women's gymnastics qualification at the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.
  • Gabrielle Douglas of the U.S. performs on the balance beam during the women's gymnastics qualification at the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.
  • Netherlands' Marianne Vos (L) reacts as she crosses the finish line ahead of Britain's Elizabeth Armitstead to win the women's cycling road race final at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.
  • South Korea's Na Ah-reum signs in for the women's cycling road race final at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.
  • South Korea's Choi Hyeonju fires an arrow in the women's archery team gold medal match at the Lords Cricket Ground during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS SPORT ARCHERY)
  • China's Fang Yuting takes aim in the women's archery team gold medal match at the Lords Cricket Ground during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.
  • Italy's Diego Occhiuzzi reacts defeating his compatriot Aldo Montano (not seen) during their men's sabre individual round of 16 fencing competition at the ExCel venue at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012
  • North Korea's An Kum Ae celebrates after defeating Cuba's Yanet Bermoy Acosta in their women's -52kg final judo match at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.
  • Indonesia's Jadi Setiadi prepares to lift on the 56Kg Group B weightlifting competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.
Day 2 of Competition (Click to view photogallery)
"If the military are there, I do not think there is single person out there that thinks it is shambolic asking the military, given the way they have stepped up to the plate in the last few weeks, if they are in a rest period, whether they would like to watch sport.  I do not think it is shambolic to ask local teachers and students, that we had always planned to do this anyway, whether they want to come in and see some of that sport and this is fine.  This is not something that we should be extrapolating dramatically from the first day of an Olympic Games," he said. 
 
Rows of seats were left empty at a number of competitions held Saturday, including basketball, gymnastics, swimming and tennis.
 
Coe said missing spectators were mostly officials with busy schedules and seats would be filled in coming days as the games move through preliminary rounds.
 
In better news for the Games' host, Britain won its first medal, with Lizzie Armitstead winning the silver in women's cycling. 
 
VOA was in southwest London amid the crowds as they cheered on the cyclists Sunday. 
 
Despite gray weather fans from all over the world came out for the free Olympic event.  "Brits are all quite about taking part, so we do not actually mind as long as our team is trying hard.  But obviously we do like to get medals, especially at home," said one woman. 
 
"And even along here, for a Sunday you know at 12 o'clock, it's quite empty now, but then everyone appears from nowhere and starts waving flags and cheering and getting into the spirit of things, so it is great.  We have met loads of people just sitting on the corner, chatting. We're going to some other events this afternoon so everybody's getting involved.  It is great," said another woman. 
 
China has won the most gold medals and the highest number of overall medals with the United States second.  
 
China's Wu Minxia and He Zi won the first diving gold, perhaps a sign of what is to come.  At the Beijing Olympics, four years ago, China won seven of the eight gold medals for diving. 
 
Meanwhile, the United States struck a new record with Kimberley Rhode winning the gold for skeet shooting.  That makes her the first American to take an individual sport medal in five consecutive games. 
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Thomas E. Proctor from: Dublin
July 29, 2012 6:27 PM
<b>
Looks like Mitt was right after all - Coe and his bunch have screwed the Olympics up royally and there is no other way to look at it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs