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WASHINGTON, February 8 (By Maria Young for RIA Novosti) Tickets haven’t even gone on sale in America yet for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, set to begin in Sochi, Russia a year from now, on Feb. 7, 2014, but already ticket sellers predict the biggest crowd-pleasing events will sell out “sooner rather than later.”
“The most popular events from a US standpoint typically are hockey, figure skating, downhill, some of the newer boarding and skiing events, and those obviously will sell out,” said Mike Kontos, a spokesman for CoSport, the authorized ticket reseller in the United States and six other countries for the 2014 Winter Games, in an interview with RIA Novosti.
“Olympic tickets will always appeal to people because it’s one of those once in a lifetime trips, something to do at least once,” he added.
Tickets for the general public are divided among the competing nations and offered through each nation’s national Olympic committees, which make them available through authorized ticket resellers (ATRs).
In the US, tickets go on sale Monday, February 11 at noon ET (1700 GMT) at CoSport.com, with prices for individual events starting at $22.
The way Kontos described it, scores of people from across the US will be sitting in front of their computer screens eagerly watching the clock so they can get their requests in as soon as the window opens.
“We encourage fans to log on, build an account and register ahead of time, so that way when sales go live on Monday, they will already have an account ready and they can start choosing, but it is first come, first served,” he said.
Although CoSport is the only ATR in the US, several online travel sites promise to offer Olympic tickets and packages that include guides, tours, and airfare as soon as tickets become available.
“When purchasing your 2014 Olympics tickets, be sure to look for tickets sold by authorized retailers… ensuring that you are not supporting any unfair or questionable practices, or getting ripped off,” advised the travel site Destination360.
But Destination360 also suggested visitors could pre-book packages from prominent travel agencies and tour operators with perks that include guided tours of Sochi and the Black Sea area.
“As the pinnacle of athletic ability, with the deepest and most historic roots in sports, the Olympic Games serve as entertainment and inspiration across the globe. Premiere Sports Travel has the Winter Games packages you need to support your country and favorite athletes,” said Premiere Sports Travel, which organizes trips to sporting events all over the world.
“Those packages are not available yet, we’re not exactly sure when they will be, but we have a lot of people waiting,” said a customer service representative who answered the phone there.
StubHub, an online site that facilitates ticket sales and purchases between fans, told RIA Novosti, “We have no plans to allow ticket resales for next year’s Olympic games,” due to International Olympic Committee regulations.
Americans travelling to Russia need to obtain visas in order to enter the country. But in the past, most host countries have worked to make the process easy for Olympic visitors, Kontos said.
In Beijing, which hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008, Kontos said the official Olympic accreditations given to athletes and coaches were treated like visas, and for ticket holders, “there were mechanisms in place” to ensure they had visas in time to travel.
“At this point those details are being worked out, but traditionally host governments will work with the organizing committee to facilitate and streamline entry into the country for their Olympic guests,” he added.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.