Leading article: Open the Olympic Park to all


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The Independent Online

Were there any doubt that Britain's appetite for all things Olympic had only been whetted by the successes of our athletes, our volunteers and our capital city, one need look no further than the surge of interest in tickets to the Paralympics for evidence to the contrary.

The Games will open in 10 days' time and the authorities are hopeful they will be the first sell-out in the Paralympics' five-decade history. More than 2.1 million of the 2.5 million tickets have already been taken, an extra 45,000 released last week as demand shot up after the closing ceremony of the able-bodied Games last Sunday. And it is difficult to conceive of a surer portent of success than the predictions of gridlock in London already surfacing from our gloomier commentators.

All of which is more reason than ever to keep the Olympic Park in Stratford open for a few weeks after the end of the Paralympics, to give all those who either tried and failed to get tickets, or discovered their Olympic spirit too late, an opportunity to go and see what all the fuss was about and catch a last wisp of sporting history.

With all the goodwill and sense of community the Games engendered, it is churlish to slam the gates while there is still so much interest.