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International journalists' impressed with London Olympics, but ticketing criticized   2012-08-13 09:40:00

The London Olympic Games were hailed a success by visiting journalists but there were reservations about the availability of tickets and how much ordinary Londoners were able to participate.

I spoke to several of the 5,000-strong press corps accredited at the London Media Center, hosted in the Institute of Civil Engineers in Westminster, opposite the heart of the British government.

Signe Damgaard Jepsen, editorial director for Arhus Onsdag and several other Danish media outlets, said she had been covering the Games using social media, and had found this had given her more access to Danish team athletes.

She had both praise and criticism for the Games.

"We've been here for 18 days and we have been very impressed at the way that London has arranged this. Everything seems to have been very very smooth. Transportation has been smooth," she said.

"Officials and everybody helping have been very joyful -- they have been very happy and have put everyone in a good mood," she added.

Signe continued, "On the other side of the coin, if I was British I would have been very upset that I would not have been able to get any tickets because the ticket system seems crazy and I would have been very sad to see all these empty seats on TV and know that I would not be able to get hold of any. I think that's a huge failure."

Signe said that Londoners should have been allowed to participate more because they paid the price of "this thing occupying their city", although she noted that spectators had been able to see the women's and men's marathons and several bicycling events for free as they had been held on public roads and had been "great events to bring people together.

She said it was sad that there was a paradox, "there are empty seats and there are people wanting to buy tickets, and that underlines the feeling all of us has the Olympics is not for normal people it is for rich people."

She said it also underlined that the Games is a huge media event.

"That's OK for the media, but really it's not OK. It should be for the people who have hosted the Games, but it seems to me a lot of people who live in London have left London to make room for the guests," said Signe.

Shane McGuinness from Radio 3AW in Melbourne, Australia, said, "I think these Games are better than Sydney in 2000. I think what this city has done -- from the transportation to the infrastructure, everything has gone smoothly."

He added, "There was some criticism of the ticketing -- and fair enough with the empty seats -- but in terms of a Games, a celebration, the venues, the atmosphere, the volunteers, the Tube stations and everything, well it's hard to admit it but it's outdone Sydney."

Shane added, "I think the opening ceremony was the best I had ever seen. And in terms of performances, well there was the Saudi Arabian female athlete running. She was about a lap behind the others but the fact that the whole London crowd got up behind her and celebrated her achievement, I think that is what the Olympics is about."

Liu Yadong, of Shanghai Radio, said that he thought some of the attitudes of the London Olympics were old-fashioned.

"For instance the British diver Tom Daley was allowed to retake his dive because he was put off by flash photography. Maybe this was the case 100 years ago but it should not be now."

He added, "The London people have made a deep impression on me. When they see competitions they are very excited, but when the competition is over they calm down. They are just interested in the competition and then they are hot, but then they calm down. It is really interesting, different to Chinese."

Liu said that Chinese fans, whether in or out of the games stadium, follow the games on TV, radio, newspapers, and in all kinds of media. But British people "pay attention to the game when it is happening, but if they are not there then they think it is not their business."


source : Xinhua     editor:: Diana
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