80 percent of Sochi Olympic tickets sold
SOCHI, Russia (AP) Many sports fans had to wait in line for hours Friday to pick up tickets for the Sochi Olympics.
On the day of the opening ceremony that kicks off 17 days of sport, long queues, made up mostly of Russians, snaked into ticket collection points in and around the Russian Black Sea resort hosting the games.
Organizers said the queues formed in part because local residents from Sochi, who could have picked up their tickets months ago, waited until the last minute and had to wait with thousands of visitors from elsewhere in Russia who are pouring into town for the games.
Oksana Yeguryan, from Adler on Sochi's outskirts, said she waited for four hours to collect her 20,000-ruble ($578) ticket for the opening ceremony, only to be told she would have to come back a day later to buy more tickets.
''I'm frustrated,'' she said. ''I spent four hours waiting to pick up my ticket and now I have to come back tomorrow and wait for four more hours.''
Sochi Olympic organizers said more than 80 percent of tickets to events have been sold. Russian spectators have been allocated 70 percent of the total available.
Ticket collection points are operating at Sochi's airport, at railway stations in downtown Sochi and at the Olympic Park in Adler. Tickets bought online also could be picked up in Moscow.
Organizers said tickets also can be collected at booking offices at the Olympic Park and mountain transportation hubs and in the hours before competitions start at the coastal and mountain complexes.
On the official website for the games, organizers announced: ''Dear spectators! Additional Ticket Box Offices are opened for your convenience.''
The games are divided between stadiums on the Black Sea coast, for events like hockey, figure skating and speed skating, and the mountain cluster of slopes and tracks for alpine events.
Sergey Galkin traveled some 2,800 kilometers (1,740 miles) from Yekaterinburg in the Ural mountains to pick up 50,000 rubles ($1,444) worth of biathlon, ski jumping and luge tickets for him and his son.
After that cross-country trek, he was stoic about a few more hours in line.
''What can you do?'' he said.