This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Having initially promised that the road races at the London 2012 Olympics would be one of the few events that the general public would be able to watch free of charge and without tickets, the organisers have announced plans to charge fans who want to watch on the key vantage point of Box Hill, provoking widespread criticism.
Anyone now wanting to watch on Box Hill, which the riders will race past numerous times, will need a ticket. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) have stated that the decision has been made in order to protect the stretch of land, which is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, from overcrowding. But Baroness Doocey, who is the Chair of the Olympic Committee at the London Assembly, told British radio station LBC 97.3 that she would be questioning LOCOG and the government about it.
“I’m very unhappy about it,” she said. “We were promised cycling was going to be free – and I think for them to go back on that promise now is totally wrong. I’m going to ask them to seriously reconsider that decision. I think it’s completely and utterly wrong.
“They are saying they need to restrict access, but there are many ways to do that. They don’t need to charge people for it. I can’t think of any reason that would justify charging for something that was promised to the public as: ‘Don’t worry, if you haven’t got a ticket there are lots of events you can see free like the marathon and cycling’. You can’t then go back and say ‘well actually, some of it is free and some you’ll have to pay for’.”