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International journalists' impressed with London Olympics, but ticketing criticized

By Peter Barker (Xinhua)

09:30, August 13, 2012

LONDON, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- 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.

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