There are a lot of empty seats at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and organizers said if there are empty seats they would allow volunteer workers to fill them.
“We have a personal motivation program,” [local organizing committee spokeswoman Alexandra] Kosterina said today. “Volunteers who are not on shift may take part in it. It depends on the event. If we see there isn’t a turnout and there are seats available, yes, we invite some of the volunteers to join in.”
Before the games started, there were many concerns over terrorist attacks. Radical Islamist groups hideout in the Caucasus Mountains, which is where the outdoor events take place. It is also less than a day away from Dagestan, where the groups live. There are wanted posters around town of terrorists, and the United States issued travel warnings to athletes and visitors before the games. The FAA banned liquids, gels and aerosol carry-ons on all flights between America and Russia over fears the terrorists will use toothpaste.
However, Kosterina said the empty seats were caused by long lines, not security.
She also said 92% of the tickets for the February 8 activities were sold, but said the empty seats were because the people did not show up in time and did not know how long security would take. She said that a lot of spectators decided to upgrade to spectator tickets and waited in line for four hours.
“We know about the issue, and we apologize,” she said. “We are taking every necessary measure, including adding extra cashiers and working to make it move faster.”
The main attraction for Russia is men’s hockey and that does not start until later this week. It will be interesting to see if the arena is filled during the games, especially when the home country takes the ice.