2012 ticket sell-off fails to start with a bang
Card fiasco sees thousands blocked from website, while countdown clock grinds to a halt
Wednesday 16 March 2011
In an embarrassing case of life imitating art, the Olympic countdown clock broke down yesterday, hours after a TV comedy about the build-up to the Games had depicted a similar debacle.
Organisers were also forced to defend the ticketing system after people whose Visa cards will expire before the end of August found that the website refused to process their orders. London 2012 said that although the application process started yesterday, cards must be valid in May when payment is taken.
Visa apologised, adding: "We are working closely with all relevant parties to resolve this issue as soon as possible." The digital clock in Trafalgar Square was started in a whirl of flashing lights and fireworks on Monday night by the chairman of the Games organising committee, Lord Coe, to mark 500 days until the Games begin.
That night, the BBC aired Twenty Twelve, a satire imagining the bureaucratic balls-ups behind closed doors at the Olympics. In the first episode, the team unveiled a giant alarm clock outside the Tate Modern, but the timepiece began its countdown on the wrong date.
Despite the modern design of the real clock, made by Omega, it ground to a halt after less than 18 hours – 500 days, seven hours, six minutes and 56 seconds before the start of the Games.
A spokesperson for Omega said: "We are obviously very disappointed that the clock has suffered this technical issue. The Omega London 2012 countdown clock was developed by our experts and fully tested ahead of the launch in Trafalgar Square."
Six hours after the company's engineers arrived to fix it last night, the clock was back up and running, having been adjusted to compensate for the mishap.
Speaking in character as Ian Fletcher, fictional head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission in Twenty Twelve, one of its stars, Hugh Bonneville, offered a perfect politician's response: "It hasn't stopped. It's a powerful and, at the same time, playful comment on the way in which time itself seems to stand still when you're talking about something as exciting as the Olympics. So basically, it's all good." The clock, which is 21ft high, 16ft long and weighs four tonnes, took 10 people two days to assemble.
Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce: Manchester United striker 'agrees to personal terms' with Turkish side
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs posts bizarre video of his Miami holiday being invaded by an iguana
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Arturo Vidal to Real Madrid: Transfer news live - Sergio Ramos to Manchester United, Lukas Podolski to leave Arsenal
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture