Sochi organizers: volunteers used to fill up empty seats

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SOCHI, Russia (AP) – Organizers of the Sochi Games on Monday confirmed that they are using volunteers to fill the seats at less popular events.

Empty seats are seen as Dutch skating fans wait for the start of the men's 5,000-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Empty seats are seen as Dutch skating fans wait for the start of the men’s 5,000-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Competitions at the games have so far varied from sell-outs at the ice-skating team event on Sunday to half-empty stands at biathlon.

Alexandra Kosterina, a spokeswoman for the Sochi organizing committee, said volunteers are enrolled in a motivation program, which means some of them will be offered tickets to see competitions after hours.

”If we see that there’s not a turnout and there are seats available, then yes, we might invite volunteers to join in,” Kosterina said.

Security concerns in Sochi have been feeding expectations that the games will not attract enough international spectators and that athletes will be performing to empty seats.

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