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.
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    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. 
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    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.

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