Olympic tickets on sale. Will you be there?
From today, members of the public can bid to buy tickets for the London 2012 Olympic Games. They may not be cheap, but there are some compelling reasons to splash out.
The stadiums are built. The athletes are training hard. The opening ceremonies are busily being planned. And from today tickets for the London Olympics are on sale. Eager sports fans can bid for one of the 8.8 million Olympic tickets, at prices ranging from £16 to more than £2000.
Will you be there? It's not cheap. And apart from the tickets themselves, transport and accommodation are likely to be an expensive extra burden.
But the Olympics is the biggest sporting festival on the planet – a global arena in which legends are made, and if you do get a ticket, you'll see the world's greatest athletes striving, competing, and making history.
There will be international stars. In tennis, huge names like Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray may face each other to win the gold. In basketball, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James – two of the most famous sportsmen on the planet – will be leading the US team towards a hoped-for victory.
Some of the competitors are titans of their sport. Michael Phelps, the American swimmer, won eight separate gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. No athlete in history has ever won more in a single Games. Hoping to topple the champion is the Australian, Ian Thorpe, whose explosive technique and size-17 feet have earned him the nickname: 'Thorpedo.'
Sprint fans will be cheering on Usain 'Lightning' Bolt. The Jamaican sprinter smashed the world records in the 100m and 200m events in Beijing. Now spectators will pay some of the highest ticket prices of the event to be there at the finish as he attempts to do even better.
Meanwhile, the British Olympic team will be trying to outdo their previous haul of 47 medals won in Beijing. There are some promising prospects. World Champion diver Tom Daley, still only 16, will be hoping to add an Olympic medal to his trophy cabinet. Chris Hoy and Jessica Ennis will be strong competitors in cycling and pentathlon.
And not all Olympic stories will be about winning. One unlikely team hoping for Olympic glory are Afghanistan's female boxers. Ten years ago, women were forbidden from all sports. Now they train in the stadium where, under the Taliban, women were executed for adultery.
For millions around the world, a ticket to the Olympics is a passport to an inspirational parade of sporting heroes.
But not everyone will be convinced. The Dutch sprinter Fanny Blankers-Koen, winner of four gold medals, once said: 'All I've done is run fast. I don't see why people should make much fuss about that.'
- Do you want to go to the Olympics? How much would you pay? Which events would you want to go and see?
- Olympic athletes train for years and work incredibly hard to get ready for the Games. It's a difficult, tiring life. Could you do it? And is it worth the effort?
- Design a poster advertising Olympic tickets. How would you persuade people to buy them?
- Do some research to identify your own Olympic hero. Then prepare a presentation to your class explaining why he or she deserves to be admired.
Some People Say...
“I'd pay anything to see the Olympics.”
What do you think?
Q & A
- Are the 2012 Olympic athletes the best ever?
- Well, more records get broken each year. Competitors run faster, jump higher and throw further. So in one sense, perhaps they are the best.
- Sounds like you aren't sure.
- Well, it takes more than just physical fitness to be an Olympic hero. Some of the great Olympians have overcome prejudice and other challenges on their way to glory, making them even more impressive.
- Like who?
- There's Jesse Owens, a black sprinter who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler's Berlin. Or Eric 'the Eel' Moussambani – an African swimmer who competed in the Olympics despite having never even seen an Olympic pool.A Don't forget the Paralympics, where athletes overcome physical disabilities to record astounding sporting achievements.