Ticket sales surge on last day to buy tickets

Children play next to a sand sculpture at Weymouth, England, on the last day of ticket applications for the London 2012 games. It will be the first Olympics in London in 64 years.

Olympic organizers braced for a last-minute surge in ticket applications Tuesday, the final day for fans to purchase the 6.6 million tickets offered for the 2012 London Games.


With the six-week online sales period closing at 11:59 p.m. in Britain, organizers reported a big spike in demand for tickets to the first Olympics in London in 64 years.

Paul Deighton, chief executive of organizing committee LOCOG, said the level of applications had "hit the roof" in recent days.

"In the last week we have been getting three or four times the applications above and beyond what was coming in for the previous five weeks," he said. "The sky's the limit based on the pattern that I'm seeing at the moment."

Organizers said about 100,000 people had started the ticket process but had not yet completed their purchases going into the final day.

Applications rose dramatically over the four-day weekend as the deadline approached.

"Six weeks ago I said this was a marathon and not a sprint, but now we are heading for the line big time," LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe said, citing a late "massive surge" in demand.

Organizers opted against a first-come, first-served system, meaning customers who applied on the final day have as good a chance in landing tickets as those who applied on the first day.

STEPPING UP: Russia will play host to a gathering of Olympics leaders next year after Britain pulled out because of financial problems.

The Association of National Olympic Committees said Tuesday its biannual assembly will be held in Moscow from April 10-18.

The ANOC meeting is traditionally held in the host city of the Summer Olympics a few months before the games. But the British Olympic Association faces a budget shortfall of up to $16 million and withdrew from playing host to the event in London.

Moscow stepped in to play host to the figure skating world championships this week after Japan pulled out after the earthquake and tsunami in March.

Russia is also expected to be a candidate if Japan's nuclear power crisis forces it to be replaced as host of the gymnastics world championships in October and World Cup volleyball events in November, which are qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympics.

Russia has also taken over events in other Olympic sports affected by political turmoil in the Middle East.