London 2012 tickets printed in Arkansas

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The Independent Online

London Olympics tickets will be printed in Arkansas and then air-freighted to the UK after an American company was given the contract to produce them.

Games organisers awarded the contract for 11 million Olympics and Paralympics tickets to Weldon, Williams & Lick of Fort Smith, Arkansas, the town that provided the setting for the Coen Brothers' western film True Grit.

The 16-ton order will be flown 4,500 miles then posted to buyers in June.

At the Seoul and Barcelona games, tickets were printed by state institutions equivalent to the Royal Mint.

"It is typical of our country," said Tony Hallett, account manager at CCS McLays, which has produced tickets for the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff. "The Yanks would never give it to us."

A London 2012 spokesman said 95 per cent of contracts went to British firms and "the contract to print tickets was awarded following a thorough, competitive and open tender".