2 million spectators turn out for Olympic Games


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The Independent Online

More than two million spectators turned out to watch the first three days of London 2012, organisers said today.

Some 856,000 fans, including the football crowds and a "conservative" estimate of 500,000 for the road race, watched on Saturday, with a further 900,000 turning out on Sunday, Locog said.

A further 370,000 spectators watched yesterday, meaning attendee rates for the three days were 86%, 92% and 88% respectively.

Union flag-waving fans, many with their faces painted, lined the streets between Surrey and London as the men's and women's cycling road races took place at the weekend.

The party atmosphere on The Mall for the final straight on Sunday, where fans stood 10-deep in places, was boosted when Britain's Lizzie Armitstead won silver, getting Team GB off the mark in the medals table.

As organiser Locog continued to try to resolve the row over empty seats in venues, particularly in accredited stands reserved for athletes' friends and family, sports' bodies and sponsors, it said a further 3,800 tickets went on sale last night.

Jackie Brock-Doyle, organiser Locog's communications director, said "almost all" of these tickets for 30 sessions of 15 sports had gone by this morning.

"I do not think we should assume we are going to get to 3,800 every time and obviously, as we get closer to the finals, there will be less availability," she said.

"It is day-by-day and it depends on what sessions are available and also what matches are being played."

Fans would also be able to print their tickets at home after buying them online in future, organisers Locog said.

Asked why tickets were not being sold at box offices, Ms Brock-Doyle added: "Mainly because we are selling everything online and we are getting quite long queues of people who are wanting to wait until the tickets become available; they are not becoming available, so it is much easier for us to use the box offices as a collection point.

"We are also going to start, at some venues, print-at-home.

"So with NGA (North Greenwich Arena) for the gymnastics, as well as the Olympic Park venues and Earls Court, we are going to have a print-at-home ticket so people can print at home and go straight away."

She added: "There's too many people otherwise."

Troops are also being offered the chance to take up empty seats at the last minute, along with schoolchildren and teachers from the local area.