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1 million Olympic tickets to go on sale Friday

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1 million Olympic tickets to go on sale Friday

From Comcast SportsNetLONDON (AP) -- Olympic fans who missed out on tickets for the London Games will get another opportunity this week, including a chance of securing high-demand seats for the opening ceremony or 100-meter final.Olympic organizers said Tuesday they are putting nearly 1 million tickets on sale, with priority given to those people who were unsuccessful in previous rounds.The 900,000 tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to the nearly 1 million people in Britain who applied previously but came up empty handed."We know thousands of sports fans were disappointed when they missed out in the initial sales period because of the massive demand for tickets," organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe said. "We promised we would prioritize these fans when we released the contingency tickets, which is exactly what we are doing."The tickets will go on sale online -- at the official website www.tickets.london2012.com -- starting at 11 a.m. local time on Friday.The sale includes "limited tickets" for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as about 5,000 tickets for the men's 100-meter final on the evening of Aug. 5 that is expected to feature reigning Olympic champion and world record-holder Usain Bolt.First priority will be given to the 20,000 people who failed to secure tickets in the initial ballot last year and missed out again in a second sale.Those customers will be given 31 hours exclusive access before the 1 million people who applied unsuccessfully in the initial ballot will then have their own exclusive 5-day sales period.All customers will be limited to applying to one session and a maximum of four tickets.Any tickets that remain unsold will go back on general sale May 23.The sale of 8.8 million total Olympic tickets began last year, with most snatched up in the early rounds.Organizers are trying to raise about 500 million pounds (704 million) from ticket sales, a quarter of their operating budget.Coe said 75 percent of the tickets go to the British public, with 25 percent to foreign fans, national Olympic committees, sponsors and other groups.Organizing committee LOCOG is on target to meet its ticket revenue target and ensure that "all our venues are packed to the rafters with passionate fans," Coe said.Being sold separately are 1.4 million football tickets. So far, 1.1 million have been sold for the football tournament, which kicks off two days before the opening ceremony with a women's match between Britain and New Zealand in Cardiff, Wales, on Aug. 25. Only 11,000 tickets have been sold so far for that game.LOCOG has faced considerable criticism in Britain for its ticket policy, with buyers and watchdog groups complaining of a lack of transparency over the sales and the computer system dogged by glitches and huge demand.Also Monday, organizers announced that 70,000 tickets will be sold allowing access to the Olympic Park to watch the events on big screens, mainly in the first week before the track and field starts. Those tickets -- which do not offer entry to the competition venues -- will sell for 10 pounds (16) and 5 pounds (8) for those under 16 or over 60.Also on sale will be tickets to the "Orbit," the 114.5-meter (375-foot) tower in the center of the Olympic Park designed by London-based artist Anish Kapoor. The full-price 15 pound (24) tickets are only for those who have tickets for the park or competitions in the park.Going on sale May 29 will be tickets for the start of the cycling road race at Box Hill in Surrey and the individual time trial start at Hampton Court Palace. Full priced tickets will run 15 pounds (24). Tickets to the grassy hill at Wimbledon to watch Olympic tennis matches on the big screen will cost 10 pounds (16).LOCOG also relaxed a policy on bringing babies into the venues that had caused an uproar among parents groups.Previously, parents had complained they would have to buy full price tickets for their infants. Pregnant women who bought tickets for themselves -- but not for their unborn children -- wondered what they could do with babies who were breast-feeding.Under the new policy, babies 12 months and under will be permitted without a ticket at most events as long as they are "securely strapped to their parent or carer by way of a baby carrier, sling, papoose or similar."The exception is at the football venues at Wembley, St. James Park and Old Trafford and the North Greenwich venue for gymnastics and the basketball finals. Organizers said those venue have existing licensing agreements that require tickets of all spectators regardless of age.

View from the Moon: Bears 'siestas' continue, leaving progress difficult to find, but it’s there ... somewhat

View from the Moon: Bears 'siestas' continue, leaving progress difficult to find, but it’s there ... somewhat

Consider this a connect-the-dots exercise, with the end game being to figure out what the overall picture is. Because the Bears’ 27-24 loss to the Detroit Lions was many things, a couple actually very good, but too many of them kinda-to-very bad...

The overarching point of the 2017 season, per senior Bears management, is progress. Not just on the part of rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who had a fourth solid performance in six NFL starts; but on the Bears as a whole. A week after showing anything but, the Bears showed something that could masquerade as progress.

How real is it? The Bears in the past eight days have given few reasons to trust it.

Because while coming close against a respectable Lions (6-4) team counts for something, the Bears are still 3-7 at the end of the day and 3-13 under John Fox against the NFC North – a division winning percentage of .188, which would be lower than that of the Marc Trestman Bears (.250), who managed to win their three NFC North games in two seasons vs. Fox’s three.

As concerning perhaps, the loss left the Bears 3-9 under Fox in games decided by three or fewer points, the hallmark of what simplistically can be ID’d as “losing” teams.

“We’ve had a lot of close games, and it’s just finding a way to close those out,” Trubisky said. “We’re going to work towards that, and figure it out for sure.”

What makes “progress” difficult to see, though, is that the Bears do not play like a team either coached to be or with the proven ability to play at a professional level all the time. Teams with that problem typically make coaching changes at the ends of seasons, since the conclusion usually is that the talent can be there, just that the coach in hand, fair or not, can’t get it out of the roster.

“We’ve shown spurts and moments, like we have for some time now,” Fox summarized. “But we have lulls. We have siestas. We just don’t do it for 60 minutes. ... People have ups and downs. Well, we’re in a stage as a football team where we have those moments in games. We have to do a better job of coaching it and we have to do a better job of executing it in games.”

The Green Bay Packers were one kind of measuring standard last week, and the 3-7 Bears were embarrassed against a foundering team that had been soundly beaten by the Lions the week before the Bears faced them, and buried 23-0 at home Sunday by the Baltimore Ravens.

The Lions were a different kind of quiz, a real offense putting up more than 27 points per game. The Bears allowed the Lions their requisite 27 points (seven of those coming on a touchdown return of a Trubisky fumble), but put up nearly 400 yards and 24 points of their own in a game that ended on a Connor Barth missed field goal from 46 yards, Barth’s fifth miss in 11 attempts from beyond 40 yards.

(Barth’s miss may have been particularly bitter for Fox, after watching Detroit’s Matt Prater win the game from 52 yards – the same Matt Prater who kicked for Fox in Denver in 2011 when Fox’s Broncos beat the Bears in the Marion Barber Game with Prater field goals from 59 yards to tie with 3 seconds left, and from 51 yards to win in OT.)

“All these games in the NFL – they’re hard games – but when you have a game like this that you should win, you just have to win those games,” said wide receiver Kendall Wright. “I think with us, when we win one of those close games, it will help us get over the edge and we’ll start stacking them up on top of each other.”

Then again...

The Bears seemed to lose their compass in the third quarter, with one rushing yard on four attempts. But they finished with 222 yards and the way they amassed them mattered: 125 and a touchdown for Jordan Howard; 53 for Trubisky, a number of them on designed runs; and 44 plus a TD for Tarik Cohen – all combining to average 7.4 yards per carry.

Bigger picture, the Bears were in the position of having at least a chance to tie because Trubisky managed to drive the Bears 55 yards in the final 1:32 from the Chicago 17 to the Detroit 28. This would constitute something shiny lying there in the mud, and make no mistake: This is a big deal.

To put Trubisky in some kind of context: Rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman, the fifth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills, replaced Tyrod Taylor in the Bills starting lineup Sunday, against a Los Angeles Chargers defense allowing opponents to complete more than 64 percent of their passes. Peterman completed 11 of 14 in the first half, about 79 percent. But – five of the Peterman “completions” were to Chargers.

DeShone Kizer has been in and out and back in the starting lineup for the Cleveland Browns, suffering through a rookie season with one of the worst teams arguably in NFL history. But – Kizer, with 12 interceptions vs. four TD passes, is one of the reasons the Browns are in various “worst ever” discussions.

Trubisky threw 30 passes without an interception on Sunday, and 65 without a pick over his past two games. He’s thrown 145 NFL passes with just two interceptions, an INT rate of 1.4 percent that ranks ahead of Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan and a list of others. Critics of his development can have their points, but the kid has learned ball security at an early NFL age even while averaging 32.4 pass plays per game.

The next step is getting his team over the top, because he is still completing just 53.1 percent of his passes and was missed badly on a number of throws on Sunday. His deft TD pass to tight end Adam Shaheen in the first half was NFL-perfect (where his guy or nobody catches it), but his throw low and behind running back Benny Cunningham at the goal line in the first quarter forced the Bears to settle for a field goal in a game decided ultimately by three points.

Trubisky clearly gets the big picture, too, pointing the thumb and not any fingers. He paused before answering a question about his rookie learning curve:

“I think adversity is a great teacher,” he said. “Overcoming the struggle is a great teacher. There’s no rookie excuse. You don’t get a freebie because you’re a rookie.

“My teammates trust me and they have confidence in me, so I’m preparing as I should. Coaches have me prepared and my teammates have my back. New situations are going to arise every time, but there are no excuses. I’m just looking at these opportunities as chances to overcome, and not dwell on it.”

Under Center Podcast: Alex Brown goes off on Connor Barth

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Alex Brown goes off on Connor Barth

On the latest Under Center Podcast, Laurence Holmes, Alex Brown and Jim Miller break down the Bears loss to the Lions on Sunday following Conner Barth’s missed field goal in the last seconds of the game and debate whether or not Tarik Cohen should be a part of the Bears two-minute offensive packages.

Plus, if the Bears hope to keep Vic Fangio past 2017, does he need to finish out the season as the Bears interim head coach?

Listen to the full Under Center Podcast right here: