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Tickets for London 2012 Olympics go on sale

Tickets sales for the London 2012 Olympics have begun, 500 days ahead of the start of the Games. Organizers have urged applicants to be patient, as tickets are not allocated on a first-come-served basis.

The London 2012 Olympic logo

Over 2.5 million people have already registered for tickets

Tickets for the London 2012 Olympics went on sale Tuesday, marking 500 days before the start of the games.

Demand for the 6.6 million tickets is expected to be high, so tickets are being allocated through a lottery system.

Organizers stressed tickets would not be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Applicants can make a request for tickets through the official London 2012 website from March 15 to April 26. They will then have to wait until June 24 to find out if they have secured tickets.

Countering ticket re-sales

London 2012 chief organizer Sebastian Coe encouraged people to "take your time, figure out your budget and figure out what you want to see."

Trafalgar Square with countdown clock

The countdown to the Games was kicked off in London's Trafalgar Square

Organizers said they have taken every precaution to ensure tickets are bought by people who want to watch the Games, not by those who will try to re-sell them at a profit.

"We're very keen to make sure that our tickets get into the hands of people that really want to cherish them," he added.

London police have zoned in on suspected ticket re-sellers in recent days, and the government has sharply increased fines for anyone caught trying to profit from tickets.

Powerful website

The website hosting the ticket sale is the third-largest in history; only Amazon and eBay are bigger. Organizers said the site's software had been thoroughly stress-tested, and they were confident it would not be overwhelmed.

Some 2.5 million people have already registered their interest in tickets, which range in price from 20 pounds (23 euros, $32) up to 725 pounds for the popular athletics sessions, such as the men's 100 meters sprint final.

There are 650 sessions across 26 sports, with buyers restricted to a maximum of 20 tickets each, although that drops to four for the most popular events.

Meanwhile, a clock has been unveiled in London's central Trafalgar Square that will count down the 500 days to the Olympic opening ceremony.

Author: Catherine Bolsover (AFP/Reuters/AP)
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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