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photo Tara Benwell Listen to News with Tara Benwell - Instructions:
1. Preview the vocabulary and read the gapfill text.
2. Play the news report and try to fill in the blanks.
3. Answer the comprehension questions by writing full sentences.
4. Use the discussion question to write an essay or discuss the story with other students.
5. Click "show Answers" to see the full text.
6. Pretend to be a news anchor by reading each story out loud.

dateline: 31 July 2012

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Soldiers Fill Empty Seats At Olympic Games

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • premium: high quality or value
  • VIP: very important person
  • scramble: to suddenly try to fix or find something
  • venue: a place such as a stadium where an event takes place
  • allocate: to set aside for a certain person or reason
  • spectator: a person who watches an event

Soldiers Fill Empty Seats At Olympic Games

Premium seats that had been for VIPs at the London Olympic Games sat empty during the first weekend of the competition. Fans who had been trying to get tickets to “sold out” events such as and swimming, expressed anger and discouragement when they saw the large blocks of empty seats in the TV coverage. The Olympic Committee began scrambling to avoid the embarrassment of unfilled seating, and invited soldiers who had finished their shifts to fill up some of the venues. Some of the vacant seats had been allocated to countries, though the tickets were never sold or returned. A similar problem occurred at the Beijing Olympics, and spectators were to fill up the venues.

Comprehension Questions

  1. Why were Olympic fans upset?
  2. What caused the problem?
  3. Why does the report mention the military?

Discussion Question: Why is it so important for Olympic venues to appear full? What do you think should be done if VIPs or foreign ticket holders don’t show up for events?

show Answers

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.
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