Where is everybody?
Swaths of empty seats are visible at the early events of the Sochi Olympics, even at some of the traditional glamour events, frustrating organizers who want to sell the excitement of the Winter Games.
A women's ice hockey match between Sweden and Japan drew fewer than 3,000 people on Sunday at Shayba Arena, which holds 7,000. The United States beat Finland a day earlier in front of a little more than 4,000, still well short of capacity.
Dots of empty-seat orange, yellow and white speckled the stands for speedskating over the weekend at Adler Arena. Even the skiers in the men's slopestyle final, an extreme-sports event debuting in Sochi, flipped and twisted and corked before hundreds of no-shows.
Blame the "Russian mentality," Olympic organizers say.
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"Russians like to come to the event not prior but as close as possible, and that is why, indeed, we had an issue of a lot of spectators being late for the games," said Aleksandra Kosterina, a spokeswoman for the Sochi 2014 organizing committee.
She said that 92 percent of tickets available for the first full day of competition had been sold—but that the actual turnout was 81 percent.
"People are really working out the timing, how long it actually takes them to get to the venues, how long it takes them to cross the security barrier, so it is not an issue of security, per se, but of logistics," she said.
Organizers say they're trying to get the word out that spectators need to show up earlier. But for Russians who were trying to get to the games on Sunday, it wasn't that simple.
You can't get into the Sochi Olympics with just a ticket, even if you bought it long ahead of time. Because of the extra security surrounding the games, it also takes a spectator card—a picture ID encased in plastic, known locally as "the fan's passport."