By Duncan Mackay
The deadline for applying for tickets for next year's London Olympics is 11.59 tonight with a late rush expected as fans scramble to be part of the biggest sports event ever to be held in Britain and snap up some of the 6.6 million tickets available.
Tickets have been on sale for six weeks but Easter weekend was the busiest since tickets went on sale, with applications peaking on Sunday (April 24), London 2012 officials have revealed.
Supporters – who have applied from as far afield as the Falkland Islands – will discover whether they have been successful by the end of next month.
Depending on levels of sales, which organisers insist are "going well across the board", there may be further windows but chances of securing tickets for high-profile events will be slim.
"Applications have been steady but at a high level, which is in line with operational expectations – but now they have hit the roof," said Paul Deighton, the chief executive of London 2012.
"Every day we have had a massive number of orders – which is not surprising, because people have taken on board that it's not a first-come, first-served system.
"They have sat down with their families to decide what they want.
"In the last week we have been getting three or four times the applications above and beyond what was coming in for the previous five weeks."
With 650 sessions across 26 sports and 17 days, people will be limited to a maximum of 20 events each.
The most popular events, including the men's 100 metres final, have a limit of four tickets per person.
Money will be taken out of bank accounts between May 10 and June 10, and people informed of which events they will be lucky enough to be attending on June 24.
A large number of applicants have yet to complete their on-line purchases, although they have started the process..
"We know that over 100,000 people are part way through their application, but they must be fully submitted to count," said Deighton.
"We urge sports fans complete their applications by [to]night, or they could miss out."
After tonight's deadline the applications will be processed and ballots arranged for over-subscribed events, such as the Opening and Closing ceromenies and events in the Velodrome, where Britain are expected to win several medals.
London 2012 have targeted selling 80 per cent of the 6.6 million tickets by tonight, which would leave a further £100 million ($165 million)-worth to sell.
Ticket sales need to contribute a total of £500 million ($823 million), around a quarter of the London 2012 overall budget.