|http://sports.sina.com.cn 2004年08月17日 16:04 新浪体育|
Attendance at the Athens Olympic Games has been poor for the first three days of competition after a sell out crowd joined by a billion viewers worldwide watched the lavish opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium on Friday.
Across Athens at various venues, the scene has been the same, athletes performing across a broad spectrum of sporting disciplines before a backdrop of empty stands.
Panathinaiko Stadium, which hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896, was back in business as an Olympic venue for the archery, but row after row of empty seats were clear to see.
The narrow, horseshoe-shaped stadium, where the marathon will end, is one of Athens' most obvious links to its Olympic past, tracing its roots to about 330 B.C. before the marble structure was partially restored for the 1896 Games.
The Athens Organising Committee (ATHOC) said it was too early to judge the games by a few empty arenas.
"We have said that the challenge for us here was for the less familiar sport for the Greek public in which you can all check where we had a good and excellent tradition in the past or where we didn't. The attendance would be lower than has been seen in the other Olympic games. However, the fact that is very, very encouraging for us, I'd say a surprise, is that we have two weeks of competition ahead of us and as I said we will be breaking the three million mark".
The Greek government, in the meantime, has argued that the early rounds of competitions are usually not well attended, adding
that venues will be full for the latter stages of competitions.
The Greek paying public are proving to be selective about what they'll pay money to watch, despite ticket prices of as little as 11 US dollars a seat for some preliminary competitions.
In Sydney four years ago, organisers said they sold 92 per cent of the 5.7 million tickets.