Fans who land tickets for the '12 London Games through the application process "will have to wait a year before finding out specific details of their Olympic seat allocations," according to Jacquelin Magnay of the London TELEGRAPH. LOCOG "has promised to notify all ticket applicants of their success, or otherwise, in the public offer by June 24, detailing the sports, sessions and price categories." But they "won't specify seat numbers, seat plans or how the venue is broken up into the different price categories, until the middle of next year." A LOCOG spokesperson said, "People won't know exactly where they are sitting until they get their physical tickets." LOCOG yesterday began "deducting money from Visa accounts for ticket orders," and the organization said the amount that was processed was "a trickle, not a flood." But Magnay noted "some of the 1.8 million ticket applicants might be surprised to find that for a few orders LOCOG may take more than one withdrawal from their accounts." A LOCOG spokesperson: "If we get towards the end of the process and someone has dropped out of the ballot and you are next on the list to get the tickets, and we have already taken out a payment for other tickets you were allocated, there may be a second payment taken out." Such a scenario "may occur because LOCOG said it would try to withdraw payments several times -- and even contact people and allow them several days to top up their bank accounts -- before cancelling their entire order" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 5/16). In London, Alexi Mostrous reports consumer organizations "have warned that the process would encourage applicants to over-order, potentially harming successful applicants' finances." LOCOG said that "more than half of the 649 Olympic sessions were oversubscribed" (LONDON TIMES, 5/17).
UPROAR OVER BILLBOARDS: The London TELEGRAPH reports billboards in Russia promoting the '14 Sochi Games "have been branded 'fascist' and 'neo-Hitlerite' because of their design." The campaign "features blonde, blue-eyed snowboarders and iceskaters posing proudly next to a new housing development that will become the Olympic media village during the Games." The images "have reminded some Russians of fascist propaganda and have even been likened by some critics to 'something from a Leni Riefenstahl film'" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 5/17).