NEWS

Next challenge: ticket sales

Chief Athens Olympics organizer Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki declared yesterday that all venues for the Games were complete. «Nobody could imagine that so many venues would be ready… for us it is not a surprise but we like to surprise the world,» she said. The last venue to be completed is the Kaftantzoglio soccer stadium in Thessaloniki, an older structure that underwent major refurbishment. In nine days’ time, two days ahead of the official Games opening ceremony, it will host a soccer tournament qualifier. The next challenge for organizers Athens 2004 is to sell as many tickets as they can. Athens 2004 officials estimate the number of tickets sold so far at 2.25 million, out of a total 5.3 million made available, including 100,000 during the past week. A few extra tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies, 538 each, as well as for track and field morning and evening sessions, were sold within minutes yesterday. Officials hope that Greeks will rush to buy the tickets at the last moment. They invoke Sydney’s example, where a million tickets were sold during the Games. They are still worried, though, about empty stands at less-known sports.