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No one came from miles around, to say "Who's he"?

What if you held Olympic Games and no one came?

In the Olympic tennis stadium, Venus Williams' grunts echoed loudly off several thousand empty seats.

There were so few people at the gymnastics preliminaries that it looked like a high school meet.

Across Athens, on the opening weekend of the Olympics, the scene was the same: Wrestlers grappled in front of only a few hundred fans, archers had the old Olympic stadium nearly to themselves and softball was played before a backdrop of empty stands.

"I watched it on TV and when you looked in the background, you were like, `Wow, it's the Olympics and nobody is there,"' former gymnast Bart Conner said.

Athens organizers, in their rush to finish building some of the sparkling new venues, apparently didn't work as hard trying to fill them. And Greeks are proving to be selective about what they'll pay money to watch, despite ticket prices of as little as $11 a seat for some preliminary competitions.

That's led to some embarrassing scenes, such as Sunday when Williams played in front of only about 500 fans on center court in the Olympic tennis complex. It was so quiet that the first shout of "Come on, Venus!" from the stands -- a constant cry when she plays at big tournaments -- came in the next-to-last game of the match.


At gymnastics, huge sections of seats had no one in them while the women competed, a fact Greek state television duly noted.

"This must be the first time there is an Olympic gymnastics event that didn't have a full arena," a commentator said.

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