It's going to be hot.
"I don't think people realize the stamina it's going to take and the precautions they'll have to make. They don't realize how grueling it can be," says Betty Parham, author of an Olympics question-and-answer column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "The heat is a known factor, and (getting to the venues) will involve a lot of walking. It's not like going to the movies."
Advice on keeping cool: Drink plenty of water, wear cool clothes, including a hat, and drape a wet towel around your neck.
Recent reconfigurations of the seating at some venues and chairs that are slightly narrower than expected are two of the reasons that tickets have materialized out of thin air. When we checked on Tuesday, tickets were still available for men's and women's gymnastics preliminaries, men's all-around gymnastics finals, the gymnastics exhibition, some track and field preliminaries and finals and women's basketball medal games. More tickets may become available later.
To check availability and order tickets by phone, call 1-404-744-1996. Or consult ACOG's Web page at (http://www.atlanta.olympic.org). You need a Secure Sockets Layer-enabled Web browser, a Visa credit card, a U.S. mailing address and an e-mail address.
Box offices at various locations around Atlanta including some venues will sell tickets during the games.
2575 Delk Rd., At. 1150A, Marietta, GA 30067
Guide to the Games gives and overview of the venues,transportation information, sent to all ticket holeders. The Olympic Bible. Usually it's two weeks after you've ordered the tickets that you receive them by UPS.
When will tickets be sent out? Games packets?
Tickets to a number of stellar performances including concerts by soprano Jessye Norman, the Atlanta Symphony and Chorus and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater are still available. Order tickets through AGOC's ticket number or Web site, listed above. Paintings by masters including Monet, Picasso and Rodin are displayed at the High Museum of Art. Southern African-American folk art is at City Hall East and the Michael C. Carlos Museum.
If you find your way around Atlanta during the Games without a hitch, you deserve a gold medal. Public transit is probably your best bet. MARTA operates a rail/bus system that will serve all the venues inside the ring. You can park at lots outside the ring, then board a bus that will take you to a train station. The train will whisk you to your venue. Trains and buses will operate 24 hours a day.
Spokeswoman Laura Gillig asks for your patience. "We'll be running about four times our capacity." Your Olympics tickets and Olympic Arts Festival tickets let you ride MARTA free the day of your event. She also suggests that you purchase tokens in advance at the airport MARTA station to avoid waiting in line at train stations. Transportation information including an explanation of how to get to your venues via MARTA should be included with your Guide to the Games, which you'll receive in the mail. If it isn't, you can request a MARTA Olympic Information Packet by calling 1 (404) 848-4771, or look up its Web page at (http://www.itsmarts.com).
"If a customer is flexible, he can still get to and from Atlanta during the Olympics," says Delta Air Lines spokesman Todd Clay. Delta alone has 94,000 seats into Atlanta a day. That's up slightly from the normal 92,000. And there's still a wide range of fares. Sixty-two different fares for flights from Salt Lake City to Atlanta are listed for carriers serving that market. Round-trip fares, with strings attached, begin at $279.
According to a spokeswoman for Hertz, rental cars are still available but rates will be set according to supply and demand. For example, an intermediate-size car will rent for $385 a week, compared to the usual $250. The company has cars "on call" from all over the Southeast. "The region is still pretty much on alert to meet the demand," she says.
Hotel and motel rooms are trickling onto the market as they are released by groups that reserved them early on. "Last week I had 100 rooms available within 50 miles of the Olympic Ring," says Jerilyn Jones, vice president of marketing for WorldTravel Partners. "These rooms come and go quickly."
Her company is manager of the Olympic Games Travel Network, the official travel agency for the games. Prices range from $70 to $250 per room per night. Some hotels require minimum stays.
It also arranges for rental cars (still available at contract rates), airline tickets and reserved parking at satellite lots with shuttles to MARTA pick-up points. "Public lots set up by the Olympic transportation system are first-come, first-served," she says. For reservations call 1 (214) 851-4029.
There is a glut of private housing.
Private Housing 1996 is the officially sanctioned private housing coordinator. Out of 2,500 apartments and condominiums, it has rented 1,500. Of 7,500 private homes, it has rented 1,000.
"We're doing about what we expected," says Dusty Rhoades, executive vice president. "But we're doing a lot less than the homeowners of Atlanta wish we were doing."
Rates, based on the home's property value, are regulated by ACOG. They start at $150 per night for a bedroom in a home that's valued at $110,000. A majority of its customers have chosen the lowest priced houses.
For information call 1 (770) 455-0081 or consult the Internet at (http://www.ph96.com).
Great Manors is one of many other housing coordinators. "We have a great deal of availability," says Debra St. Jude. "A lot of corporate accounts have been letting hotel and motel rooms go." As well as hotel and motel rooms, it offers host-occupied homes as well as home the owners have vacated for the Olympics. Prices start at $150 per bedroom per night, double occupancy for private homes; $175 for motel rooms; and $275 for hotel rooms.
"Almost everything we have is on a MARTA line," she says. "And it's within 45 miles of downtown Atlanta."
For information call 1-800-483-7896, or visit its Web site at (http://www.websources.com/great-manors/).
Contact other sources including the Web page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://www.atlantagames.com); or call InfoVentures of Atlanta at 1-900-950-0511 and dial 1096. The company can fax you the Olympic events schedule, venue seating charts, a map of MARTA showing locations closest to venues, and more. The price is 50 cents a minute.