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2012 London Olympics: Archery Debacle On Eve of the Games

Today sees the official opening for the 2012 London Olympics and, frankly, every one of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) will be glad of the distraction.

In having a few events take place before the pyrotechnic ceremony LOCOG ran the risk of giving themselves too much, too soon. They spread assurances that they were ready (despite there being daily problems with Olympic car lanes throughout the city) and trudged on.

On the first day they were in trouble, as North Korea’s women’s soccer team delayed playing for an hour because officials displayed the flag of their sworn enemies, South Korea, as players were displayed on overhead screens.

Following a stinging appraisal by North Korea’s coach and a swift apology from LOCOG we were again assured everything was ready to go.

Today, however, there was more unrest as fans marched on Lords cricket ground. This is the venue for the archery, but, as all of the major broadcasting networks and the majority of security personnel are needed at the Olympic Stadium to prepare for Danny Boyle’s opulent opening show, the archery was billed by LOCOG as ‘unticketed.’

What they meant by this was that the archery would take place behind closed doors, with little coverage and no fans. What several websites and numerous individuals thought, though, was that ‘unticketed’ simply meant that entry was free.

These fans have been turned away and informed that their journey was a waste of time.

Could this have been avoided? Of course it could have. A few more words and a lot more exposure would ensure that no one made such mistakes, but with so much attention falling on the opening ceremony and the first official event –the road cycling race, where Mark Cavendish is expected to grab a medal –it appears as if the competitions before the Friday watershed have ended up as an afterthought.