The Guardian (United States) (02/13/14) Walker, Shaun
Attendees at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are becoming larger and more raucous despite problems with ticketing and logistics. This shift in Russians' mood from skepticism and ambivalence toward enthusiasm has led to major sales of last-minute tickets, and Olympic officials announced on Feb. 14 that more than 1 million tickets have been sold for the games, with most of the more popular events being sellouts, although there are still large areas of empty seats. Officials say much of the unfilled seats are attributable to sponsor tickets going unused. The Olympic organizing committee's Alexandra Kosterina also cites a lack of time for people to pass security measures as another reason for the empty seats. "We've had some problems with basically a Russian mentality in a lot of ways, that Russians like to come to the event not prior but as close as possible, and that is why indeed we had an issue of a lot of spectators being late for the games," she notes. Fans also have been dogged by computer problems, with some being told that their tickets are fraudulent, or are unreadable by machines at venue entrances.