My Olympic Odyssey (Part 5/15): Ticketing torture

Obtaining tickets for London 2012. Memba that?

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In what many might call a fiasco but which, even in my darkest hour, I tried to see reason, obtaining tickets for any event, let alone any specific event, was a tortuous experience.

Even trying to recall the exact ticketing process for this blog is painful but it’s important to the narrative to come so here we go.

You can’t appreciate the highs without going through the lows, right?

The first stage was signing up to even be allowed to apply for tickets, so my first thrilling London Olympic-related moment was receiving an email saying my application to apply for Olympic tickets was successful.

Little did I know this would be the only positive news I’d have on the Olympic front for some time.

Olympic ticket applic

So now it was down to choosing which events to go to and apply for those events accordingly.

This stage required some strategic planning.

I printed out spreadsheets of all the events and plastered the wall in my flat with them.

Spreadsheet wallpaper... it's the new thing

Spreadsheet wallpaper… it’s the new thing

This way  I could work out which events were most important to me and if they clashed with anything else.

Oh the naivety in thinking it would be so easy to pick my events so carefully as to not have them clash…

Once I’d carefully chosen my events I then had to curtail my original list as, should I be lucky enough to be successful in the ballot and receive every ticket I applied for, I needed to make sure I had the money to cover them all in my account.

The last thing I wanted was for the tickets to be rejected just as I’d got my mucky paws on them.

So this became an almost military level operation but what most amuses me looking back is that I was taking no notice of the fact I worked on a sport magazine… in London.

Some may have been put off even applying for tickets realising their work would increase exponentially but my thought has always been to go for something and worry about the wrinkles in your plan later.

So, at the end of May 2011, I nervously awaited my email simultaneously checking my bank account to make sure I had enough funds to cover the ticket money. This was it, how many would I get?

Nada, zip, zilch that’s what.

No tickets


I know I wasn’t the only one, London Mayor Boris Johnson didn’t get any either, but I was pretty sure I was the only who had spreadsheets as wallpaper.

One poor bugger had gone for the, ‘Well, I’ll never get any so I’ll go for loads,’ approach opting for £36,000 worth of tickets and getting £11,000 of them.

He didn’t have enough credit on his (Visa*, oh yes, you could only pay by Visa) credit card so the payment was returned.

Luckily, he told the UK’s Today programme, he was given another chance to pay for the tickets but it was an all or nothing approach – he either paid for £11,000 worth of tickets or he’d have none. He opted to extend his credit limit.

So, strike one for me. For a split second I was crushed but ever the optimist, I surveyed my other options.

I was going to apply to be a Games Maker, that is a volunteer, at the gymnastics event, as well as audition to take part in one of the ceremonies, and I still had the option of going for the second round of tickets – those of us who had received none in the first round could apply on a first come first served basis for a few days ahead of the general free for all.

One of those would come off, wouldn’t they?

  • Oh, hi Visa. Yes, just to let you know that in making yourselves the sole way people could pay for tickets you’ve lost any goodwill I may have had toward your company. It annoys me even now, so yes, good work with that.

03 Jo at Wembley

Next post: Olympic Odyssey: My Games Maker audition





Previous Olympic Odyssey blogs

An Olympic Odyssey (part 1): the beginning or how one decision changed an entire life #1yeartogo
Ticket fiascos, romantic gestures, catsuits, poems and celebrity meetings, Jo’s London Olympic Odyssey is a tale of sporting obsession

An Olympic Odyssey (part 2): an obsession, or, an example of how sport saved my soul
A crushed soul, oodles of courage and a friendly England football manager, Jo’s Olympic Odyssey had an auspicious beginning

An Olympic Odyssey (part 3): failure to prepare…, or, how I thought my stars were aligning
Love struck, a dream job and location, location, location, Jo’s Olympic Odyssey started so well

An Olympic Odyssey (part 4): the countdown clock launch, or how even Jess Ennis couldn’t make this event interesting
Embarrassment, failures, red-faces… Jo’s Olympic Odyssey wasn’t always Super Saturday

Author: Jo Gunston

Roving blogging superfan shares behind the scenes stories of her sports life and the best of those from like-minded souls.

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