Olympian Failure

If the  BBC news reports are to be believed, I am one of 250,000 of the the 1.8 million people who applied for Olympics tickets but failed to receive any.  That makes me part of a disappointed 14 % of applicants.

When I wrote about the warning leaflet in a box of pills, I recall noting how precisely they defined the words used to indicate likelihood of incidence of side effects.  If the Olympic application process were a medicine and complete failure were a side effect, at a rate of 14 in every hundred it would be classed as ‘common’.

I have found my reaction to the whole process quite interesting.  At first I was disappointed that the Games were awarded to London in the first place, as I believe we will be bearing the cost of them for the rest of our lives.

Then I persuaded myself I was being far too grumpy about the whole thing.  Many British athletes were filmed declaring how excited they were at the prospect of competing on home ground, and there was talk of what a celebratory event it would be.   All the publicity from the London Committee is about leaving the country with a great sporting legacy, in which everyone will have a renewed interest in sport and sporting achievement.  Maybe it would be a shame to miss out.

Then we were bombarded with the offensive designed to get us to apply for tickets, through an online system that was essentially a game of chance, a huge lottery, the operation of which is still shrouded in mystery.  All sorts of strategies were written about and discussed; apply for lots or not many; apply for both more and less popular events.  On and on they went, trying to hide the fact that the results would be dictated entirely by chance.  Temporarily, I bought into the idea and talked about it with friends, registered with the application site and thought about what I would apply for.

I overcame my aversion to being coerced into obtaining a Visa credit card, as they hold the payment monopoly, and spent a number of hours trawling through the schedule deciding what I would like to see taking into account all the various pros and cons.  I applied for 10 sessions across 5 venues and 7 sports.

And now I feel a bit cheated, and disaffected.

Yes I knew it was a game of chance, but it was more than a lottery.  It takes only a few seconds to pick a few numbers for a lottery, yet I invested quite a lot of time and energy in considering a number of combinations and permutations, so while I’ve not lost any money, all my goodwill is spent.

My cycle of engagement with it has gone from a position of antipathy that it was to be in London, through a period of reasonably enthused engagement, to arrive today, at indifference.

Good luck to you if you are of the favoured 86%, I’ll keep an eye out for you if I watch it on the television.

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  1. brendan stallard

     /  June 2, 2011

    “all my goodwill is spent.”


    A very powerful post. I must admit some surprise at you even applying.

    The cost of tickets, the later rippoffery during the event, and the terrible traffic would give me the vapours. Not to mind the event being target number one for the exploding seekers of paradise.

    They would have lost me at the big Visa thing. That will turn out to be a monster. There will be fraud, and big messes that aren’t being reported yet.

    I have been more and more choosy at attending public events of late with this money forcing that organizers do. You can’t take your own water or sandwiches, you have to buy the £5 bottle of goop and £10 popcorn they are going to sell you.

    Makes a long day in the sun a long torture.

    I think you have won the lottery, not lost it, be happy:)


    • Thanks Brendon, I will treat it as a win, and look on the bright side! At least I won’t have to deal with all the travel and chaos and all those other people, and can watch it from the sofa is I choose……


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