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SOCHI, March 13 (R-Sport) - The rapid pace of ticket sales for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics stunned organizing committee head Dmitry Chernyshenko, he said Wednesday.
The first tranche of tickets went on sale to Russians on February 7, a year before the opening ceremony, and sales were brisk, with tickets for the men’s hockey gold medal game gone in a matter of minutes.
“We suggested that there would be very high demand, so we did national research, we got ready, but the result surpassed all our most optimistic expectations,” Chernyshenko said.
“The tickets in the first wave were sold out literally in several hours. I want to reassure all the fans - there are still tickets and they will come on sale gradually.”
Of the remaining tickets, 97 percent will be sold for less than 7,000 rubles ($227), he added. Slightly more than half of buyers are male, at 60 percent, Chernyshenko said.
This winter’s test event calendar has faced disruption from the weather, with several mountain competitions canceled due to warm temperatures, or in the case of the Alpine skiing European Cup on Wednesday, heavy rain.
Dmitry Kozak, the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Olympic matters, said the weather was a learning experience and suggested the conditions were unlikely to be repeated next year.
“The test events passed successfully, with the exceptions of the weather’s whims,” he said.
“Because of the warm weather there was no snow and it was necessary to solve the problem in extreme conditions. I think it was positive experience.”
The heavy rain caused an emergency Wednesday when authorities had to evacuate 700 constructions workers whose camp near the mountain venues was flooded.
The Olympics will be held from February 7 through 23 next year.
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