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Olympic ticket website falls at the final hurdle

Sports fans rushing to beat the deadline for London 2012 Olympic ticket applications were thwarted last night when high demand caused the website to seize up.

It was supposed to remain open to latecomers until 11.59pm but the dealine was extended by an hour after many users reported that they had been unable to submit their applications, and were instead being met with an error message advising them to "try again later".

A spokesperson for Locog, the Olympics' organising committee, said that despite the problem some transactions had still managed to get through.

The online pile-up occurred after the Locog chief executive, Paul Deighton, said yesterday morning that traffic to the website had "hit the roof" over the Easter weekend as the deadline approached.

"Applications have been steady but at a high level, which is in line with operational expectations – but this week, it has hit the roof," he added. "Every day is different, but also in the last week we have been getting three or four times the applications above and beyond what was coming in for the previous five weeks – and the sky's the limit based on the pattern that I am seeing at the moment."

Although organisers will no doubt be disappointed by the website's last-minute problems, they will have been encouraged by the enthusiasm for the tickets as they have budgeted to raise a quarter of their total revenue from the sales.