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Over half of London Olympic events oversubscribed

Five sports events and the opening and closing ceremonies sold out in the first round of ticket sales for the 2012 London Olympics, with 1.8 million applicants making 20 million requests.

After a six-week online application period for the 6.6 million tickets on sale, Olympic organizers said Wednesday that more than half of the 650 competition sessions in 26 sports were oversubscribed.

While tickets remain for sports such as track and field, already sold out are track cycling, rhythmic gymnastics, triathlon, modern pentathlon and the cross-country equestrian competition.

Also no longer available are tickets for both ceremonies, with the opening on July 27, 2012, 10 times oversubscribed.

Tickets for those events will be allocated through a lottery system.

The London organizing committee, known as LOCOG, also said the "majority" of the swimming and tennis sessions have sold out.

Organizers had hoped to sell 80 percent of the tickets by Wednesday, leaving about 1.3 million available for sale in a later phase.

LOCOG did not disclose exactly how many how many tickets have been bought or how many remain unsold, but said there will be further sales in June and July.

"We are thrilled with the response right across the board, in all sports and all sessions," LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe said. "There will understandably be disappointment and we will find a way to go back to those people with other tickets.

"What is most encouraging is that the majority of applications are for multiple tickets and for several sports, which shows that friends and family are planning to go to the games together."

Organizers said 95 percent of the applications came from the United Kingdom. The online sales also were available in 26 European countries. Elsewhere, tickets are sold through national Olympic committees.

Prices ranged from $33 to $3,320 for a top seat at the opening ceremony.

Applications will be processed in May and June, with customers notified by June 24 if they have been successful.

LOCOG has budgeted about $825 million from ticket sales, about a quarter of its overall operating budget.

Also Wednesday, organizers announced plans for a new sculpture by Italian artist Monica Bonvicini to be installed in the Olympic Park. The art work will feature a 29.5-foot high letters made of glass and stainless forming the word "RUN."