Two weeks to go to the Olympics, and Games fever has swept through Beijing. Thousands of sports fans queued for hours in the hot and muggy conditions, as some 250,000 precious tickets went on sale. They were left over from three previous sales lotteries, and they drew an enormous turnout. Police did their best, but the huge demand left many people complaining about the organisation.
Tickets for the National Stadium, dubbed the ‘Bird’s Nest’ or the the swimming pool, nick-named the ‘Water Cube’ are like gold dust. Just getting to the front of the queue required an effort worthy of the marathon itself. Success called for Olympic levels of fitness and determination.
Western-style ticket touts have been profiting. Dozens have been arrested, including one man offering basketball tickets at a hundred-times their face value.