Olympic Organizers Say Tickets Are Sold, but Where Are the People?

Olympic Organizers Say Tickets Are Sold, but Where Are the People?

A women’s hockey game on Wednesday between a joint Korean team and Japan was well into the first period when one ticketholder, Jewell Hatton from Pennsylvania, said an attendant stopped her and told her that her ticket was invalid. Organizers had reassigned her seat, and new arrangements would have to be made.

“That happened last night, too,” Hatton said.

Organizers said some tickets had to be reissued because of additional space required by broadcasters.

Groups of South Korean schoolchildren have been a common sight, bused in for field trips as part of a program by the Ministry of Education to educate young Koreans about winter sports.

They also fill empty seats quite nicely. At a recent hockey game, a group of schoolchildren hungrily snapped photographs of the all-women cheerleading troupe from North Korea.

A program is also in place for Olympic volunteers to take up unoccupied seats. They are required to remove their uniforms so they are not identifiable, and they are obligated to move should a paying spectator show up.

“We also hope that this will help to increase the stadium’s atmosphere, so that athletes can perform their best,” a spokesman for Pyeongchang 2018 said.

Some foreign fans who have found limited transportation options are also rethinking whether to attend late-night sessions. Organizers run buses to central hubs, but after that, fans are largely on their own amid the freezing temperatures.

“I’ve had to call the guy who owns the hotel near where we are staying to come and pick me up,” said Skinner, the Australian from Bangkok. He said he had seen other spectators ask volunteers — and even police officers — for rides.

He is staying about three miles from the venues — close compared with some fans. But, he added, “It’s a long way to walk when it’s minus 15.”.

At least one athlete saw the relative quiet as a silver lining. Laura Dahlheimer, a German biathlete, said that she needs to be able to concentrate as she fires her rifle at the target.

“I prefer this to when 50,000 people are screaming,” she said.

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