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Pentathlon: Just the ticket for 2012

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Ollie Williams | 07:32 UK time, Thursday, 17 February 2011

If you want to go to the London Olympics, you would be a fool not to try for modern pentathlon tickets.

This is a bold statement to make. Most people face a battle to define modern pentathlon, let alone find the inclination to join the queue for tickets. But trust me - it’s one of the better bargains thrown up by the 2012 Olympics schedule, released earlier this week.

If you've never heard of modern pentathlon then £75 per ticket may not scream "bargain" to you but, comparing it to the prices of tickets to many other events, I think you'd be doing well. Here are five reasons to add it to your list.

    1. You get five sports for your money. Pentathlon involves fencing, swimming, show jumping, running and shooting - in that order.

    2. The knock-on effect of this is that you get several venues for your money, too. The fencing is held at the Handball Arena (which precious few others may get to see inside, given handball is the only other Olympic sport taking place there); the swimming is inside the Aquatics Centre, which I'd put in the top three Olympic Park attractions; and the rest of it is in Greenwich Park. They're all covered by one ticket.

    3. Let's talk a bit more about this show jumping. Have you seen pentathlon show jumping before? Do you know the rules? Well, all you need to know is: they introduce the horses to the riders 20 minutes before they compete. Chaos often ensues. It is one of the liveliest events at the Olympics, I promise you.

    4. Britain has a solid modern pentathlon record. Perhaps the men less so (although Sam Weale won a European silver medal last year), but the women's event - on the final day of the Games - holds much British promise. Any one of four or five women, including Beijing silver medallist Heather Fell, has a chance of winning a medal for Team GB.

    5. The women's pentathlon gold medal will almost certainly be the last of the London Olympics, barring any scheduling fiasco or hold-up.


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    Video: Britain's Heather Fell discusses having to wait until the end of the Games to compete

    So for £75 you get five sports in a selection of venues including a trip to the Olympic Park, some British medal interest and the last gold medal of the Games, spread over 10 hours, all included on one ticket. Having looked at the rest of the schedule, you could do a lot worse with your money.

    If £75 is too much, there are separate tickets for £20 or £35 which cover just the show jumping then the run-shoot finale, including the medals being won. They're part of the London 2012 "pay your age" scheme too, so children get in for less. No Olympic Park in that package, but still worth a look. The full pentathlon schedule and pricing details are on London 2012's site.

    Other ideas you might not have considered are slalom canoeing (reasonably cheap, very lively, nice brand new venue), women's football (huge numbers of tickets available so you've a good chance of getting the tickets you select in the ballot - ditto indoor volleyball, hockey and handball) and tennis (£20 for a ground pass at Wimbledon on almost any day of the Games - no access to Centre or Number One Courts, but still likely to be a spectacular venue during the Olympics).

    And in case you didn't see it on Tuesday, there's the small matter of my day-by-day guide to help you. Or else ask me on Twitter or on this blog.

    Edit, 1530 GMT: Earlier above, I said the Handball Arena was temporary. It isn't - it becomes a multi-purpose sports centre after the Games.


    • Comment number 1.

      Also, if you have to travel in to London to see the MP, you'll be able to see the Closing Ceremony from the big screen after the events have finished.

    • Comment number 2.

      I find it amazing that Boxing has not been talked about by anyone , look at the medals we have won in the last olympic games /commenwelth games , volley ball ,fencing come on how many medals have we won in those events .

    • Comment number 3.

      Dr A - I'm expecting boxing to be a big draw on TV as, like you say, there ought to be British and Irish interest - probably in some numbers - through to the very late stages of the competition at least.

      And in terms of going to the event, in the main day-by-day guide I picked out Wednesday, 8 August (women's boxing, new to the Games, reaches the semis) and Thursday, 9 August (a huge day of men's semi-finals) as ones I'd suggest going to. Especially on the Thursday, you will get a lot of top-quality action on the card for your money.

      Neil - I hadn't thought of that. Good tip, thanks.

    • Comment number 4.

      I am interested in the volleyball (indoor, not beach) and hopeful of getting tickets for the Mens and Womens final, and note your comments regarding the ease of getting tickets.

      I have been led to believe that the Volleyball is actually one of the most popular events in past Olympics and is likely to sell out.

      Just because it is not exactly a high profile sport in this country, it is a worldwide popular sport and is it not a typical British attitude that "we won't win a medal, therefore we won't go and watch".

      The GB volleyball team has come a long way in the last 2/3 years and whilst they will not be close to getting a medal, this is a fast and exciting sport - forget the dollies in their bikini's at Horse Guards Parade and get indoors to see the original game, and I am sure many people in this country will be amazed at how exciting and skilfull the game is.

      But not too many of you - I want my tickets

    • Comment number 5.

      I personally think it will be almost impossible to get tickets for any events other than the football, and really is attending a match at Old Trafford for example really attending the olympics. I personally think all events should have been held in London if it was at all possible, and that the London football grounds should have been used. I can not see the logic for playing the football outside of London, as if you do this, why not do it for other events such as Hockey, Bsketball etc.
      If you look at the number of tickets available, of the 8.8m tickets, only 6.6m are being offered for sale, the rest have already been allocated. Of these 6.6m tickets about 2.6m are for fottball, so that leaves only 4m tickets. Of these tickets a lot are at the higher prices so only around 2m will be available at prices people can afford. Given that over 2 million people have registered an interest it just shows how difficult getting tickets will be. I have registered and will be applying for 50 plus tickets for my family across a number of events, which suggests changes of getting tickets will be around 1 in 50, significantly more for some events.

    • Comment number 6.

      David - I'm not so sure that tickets will be as scarce as you imagine.

      I don't doubt your figures but if 2m people have registered an interest, it's unlikely that will equate to 2m people bidding for tickets. There will almost certainly be some drop-off. Moreover, a large chunk of those 2m will be after tickets to specific events, probably the heavily oversubscribed athletics, cycling, swimming sessions etc. There won't be an even spread where a similar number go for handball, hockey, fencing, taekwondo as go for the likes of athletics.

      I do agree there will be a huge battle to get tickets for certain sessions, but I also believe that - if you're smart about it - you stand a good chance of getting tickets to excellent sessions in sports people may not have considered. For example, you have to know world number one Aaron Cook's taekwondo weight category to know which session to go for. And if you really know your taekwondo, you might say fine - Aaron Cook and Sarah Stevenson are well-known, I'll skip those as there'll be reasonably high demand and I'll go for Bianca Walkden's weight category, knowing she's world number two and therefore still a likely British medal chance. (All of which assumes you're British and choosing tickets partly in the hope of seeing British success... if one or both of those do not apply, then this widens your options even further.)

      If Locog were so sure of selling out in almost all events, they wouldn't be mounting the concerted advertising campaigns that they are doing around certain sports like handball and hockey, That, more than anything else, is a sure sign that the demand isn't currently there for those tickets. Your chances of getting tickets to the Games, if you bid for 50 tickets, are far better than one in 50, just as long as you throw in a few sessions which aren't obvious choices.

    • Comment number 7.

      All this user's posts have been removed.Why?


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