Salt Lake City, UT, June, 4, 2001--(AP by Paul Foy) Just when it seemed Winter Games tickets were all but sold out, another 200,000 became available.
Some of the seats opened up when corporate sponsors or foreign Olympic committees didn't snap up their full entitlements. Organizers added other tickets after deciding seats would not be obscured by TV camera operators.
Covering the range of winter sports, many of the tickets are for qualifying or preliminary rounds of competition for the February games.
Buyers will find tickets for bobsled and luge, hockey, figure skating, short-track speedskating, snowboarding, ski jumping, curling, biathlon, and cross-country skiing.
The leftovers were to go on sale Tuesday morning.
``My guess is these tickets will be gone by the end of the day,'' SLOC president Mitt Romney said.
The latest batch of tickets will go on sale for face value, ranging from $35 for luge or curling to $885 for opening or closing ceremonies.
Romney had been criticized for hoarding 1,000 of the best Olympic seats for auctions on the Internet site eBay. He's already auctioned 66 tickets at up to nine times face value, raising nearly $200,000 for the Paralympics.
Romney defended the auctions by saying those tickets normally would go _ at face value _ to corporate sponsors or Olympic VIPs. Still struggling to raise money, Romney shook off a Los Angeles Times editorial saying he deserved an Olympic gold medal for gouging.
``I'll take a gold medal for balancing our budget and leaving no debt for taxpayers,'' he said.
More ticket auctions are in the works, and SLOC still is selling its own ``premium packages'' of eight events over four days.
So far, organizers have raised $166 million in ticket revenue out of a goal of $180 million.
Romney also unveiled Tuesday a ``limited-edition'' Olympic sculpture by Utah artist Jonathan Bronson.
It's a 9-pound sculpture of a skier perched on a SLOC snowflake logo anchored in a granite base. Romney said only 350 of the sculptures were made. Minimum bids are $500 on SLOC's Web site.
On the Net:
Salt Lake Organizing Committee: http://saltlake2002.com
SLOC ticket sales: http://www.tickets.com/olympics/initial.html
Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press