The curious case of OB216: A little bit of history that no one's watching


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The Independent Online

It is perhaps not altogether shocking that £15 tickets to go on a rollercoaster that has already crashed don’t appear to have sold that well.

But the curious case of OB216 is still surprising. Of the many available time slots to ascend the Orbit, the giant red sculpture that shoots out of the floor of the Olympic Park in perfect incongruity with all that surrounds it, this one, I thought would sell out.

It is this session, at 21.15 on Sunday August 5th, that will allow the seemingly lucky few a pretty decent view of the men’s 100m final. Yet seven hours after going on sale, there appear still to be quite a few left. The only other tickets available for the men’s 100m final are going for around £7,500 (but you will get a few prawns and a crème brulee with that, at least). Whyever could this be?

To even gain access to the Orbit, you already need a ticket to some event or other in the Olympic Park, or a ground pass. The 60,000 or so people with seats in the stadium probably won’t bother. And if you’ve got a ground pass, and you choose to drop the extra £15 or going up the Orbit, you’re gambling on everything running to time, and if it doesn’t you might well end up going up in a lift, or waiting in a lengthy queue, as London’s great Olympic moment goes on a hundred yards or so away. It’s clearly a bit of a gamble, which perhaps explains it.

But even so, it’s a big old platform and it cost many millions of pounds to build (not your pounds mind, Lakshmi Mittal’s), it’s got a pretty decent view of history, but it seems there might be no one looking.