Anyone left frustrated by the latest glitch in the ticket sales system for this year's London Olympics can instead look forward to seeing some of the world's top athletes appearing at a leisure centre or swimming pool near them in the run- up to the Games.
Gold medal hopefuls including Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt will be putting the finishing touches to their preparations at 118 training camps up and down the country ahead of London 2012.
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Organisers believe the presence of elite athletes across the UK will help deliver on the promise of providing a Games for all after criticism that the benefits of the £9bn sports jamboree are too focused on the capital and that a shortfall in tickets means millions will be forced to watch on television rather than experience the action live.
Yesterday, however, Locog, the London organising committee, was again embarrassed after the website for re-selling unwanted tickets crashed under weight of demand. Sellers also experienced difficulties in trying to upload tickets on to the system. Having launched the site at 9am, by 1pm Locog and Ticketmaster, their ticketing partner, were forced to suspend the process.
"We have told Ticketmaster to suspend the resale system whilst they investigate some issues customers have been experiencing," said a Locog spokesperson. Stars from some of the leading able- bodied and Paralympics teams, including the US, China and Australia, are expected to put on demonstration events and open the doors to the public as part of the build-up to the extravaganza in July and August.
As well as the big names in the showpiece events, there will also be representatives of some of the world's lesser sporting powers such as Gambia, St Kitts and Nevis and the British Virgin Islands.
Councils, which have competed fiercely to sign the top names, hope that the presence of the world-famous athletes will help inspire a future generation of sporting winners.
Among the anticipated opportunities for fans without tickets to the Olympic Park in Stratford is an open-door training session by the US track and field team at its base in Birmingham.
Birmingham, home to a large West Indian community, is hosting the Jamaican Amateur Athletics Association, which will include Usain Bolt. The city is hoping the athletes will help them celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence.
Team GB is basing itself in Loughborough. The athletics team's final preparations will include trips to Portugal and France. The British Olympic Association is expected to announce its plans for engaging the public ahead of the games in the new year.Reuse content