Noisy crowd disappeared. Peaceful silence returned to the Wukesong Stadium, the basketball venue of the Beijing Olympics, on Sunday, one day after an unprecedented ticketing frenzy took place here.
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All the remaining 24,919 basketball tickets of the Beijing Olympic Games were sold out in less than 11 hours on Friday. The tickets were originally scheduled to be sold in three days.
"There were ticket buyers waiting in line on July 23, two days before the start of the selling. They brought blankets, water, food and even small beds with them," said Li Bing, vice secretary general of the Wukesong Stadium, who is in charge of the ticket selling.
About one thousand people slept on the pavement outside the stadium on Wednesday night. Li began to worry on Thursday morning as about 5,000 people were waiting in the line overnight.
"In a few hours there were thousands of people gathering in front of the south gate of the stadium. All the security volunteers and policemen of the stadium took into the post to keep the lines in order," Li said.
Li had to call up for help from local police station Thursday afternoon as over 10,000 people crowded in eight lines before the tickets windows.
"We made several emergency changes as so many people gathered there. We set up barriers to keep the line in order, which extended over one kilometer long banking the outskirt of the stadium."
Only one third of the tickets were scheduled to be sold on Friday. All the tickets were printed out before Friday dawn after negotiation with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) when more and more people joined in the lines.
"Most people wanted to buy tickets of China's matches, especially the match between China and the United States on Aug. 10. These tickets, which had about 1,000 left, were not supposed to be sold until Sunday, as the BOCOG told us. People would have waited about four days if we had not sold them on Friday. It would make the circumstances more complicated if we didn't sell China's match tickets from the very beginning," Li explained.