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2014 Winter Olympics

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Sochi empty seats: Volunteers sought to cover for Sochi’s sparse crowds

Sochi’s empty seats at various events are becoming quite noticeable, to the point where Olympic officials are looking for volunteers to come in and fill the empty seats, reports Fox Sports on Monday.

The lack of crowds is creating a dismal atmosphere, for both the athletes at the events and for those who are actually attending the events that they hold tickets to. Not to mention that for those watching on television, the less-than-capacity crowds make the games look like an ill-attended high school ping pong match.

The dearth of spectator enthusiasm has not gone unnoticed.

Gerhard Heiberg, the Norwegian head of the IOC marketing commission, said the games were not as nearly as lively as everyone had hoped.

''We feared that a little bit,'' Heiberg said. ''We were warned about this. The TV pictures are wonderful, the competitions are wonderful, the venues are great. But I feel a bit the lack of enthusiasm and the joy of sports. There are not enough people. You have seen the stadiums are not filled.''

Some of the events, like figure skating, have been packed. Others, like biathlon, have been half-empty. Even the men’s downhill, considered a big draw, drew only half capacity crowds.

Ticket sales have not been the issue – events have been selling at a fast pace – but ticket holders are failing to show.

According to MSN, “some 80 percent of ticket inventory has been sold, according to Olympic organizers, but threats of terrorist attacks, logistical issues, and a seeming lack of interest has left certain spectacles pretty spectator-less. As many as 4,000 people didn’t make it to their seats over the first two days of competition.”

All of which has left the Olympic committee scrambling to make the games look like they are supposed to look.

"If we see there isn’t a turnout and there are seats available, yes, we invite some of the volunteers to join in," said Alexandra Kosterina, a local Olympic committee spokeswoman.

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