ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Word of New Mexico statehood arrived 84 years late at the Olympic ticket office.

Wade Miller, a Santa Fe resident and volleyball fan, encountered a geography gaffe when he tried to buy Olympic volleyball tickets by calling Atlanta on Tuesday.

Miller was assured volleyball tickets were still available, and things went smoothly until the ticket agent asked Miller for his address. Miller, 31, gave the woman his address in Santa Fe.

``She put me on hold, then came back and said she couldn't sell tickets to someone who lives outside of the United States. She said I needed to call my own national committee,'' Miller said.

You might be thinking now that this was just a minor mixup, that the ticket seller just didn't hear the word `New.'

But Miller spent a half-hour trying to convince the ticket agent and a supervisor that New Mexico has been a state since 1912.

``I told her I was calling from New Mexico and emphasized the New,'' Miller said. ``She told me, `Sir, New Mexico, old Mexico, it doesn't matter. I understand it's a territory, but you still have to go through your nation's Olympic committee.'''

When the ticket agent turned the call over to her supervisor, Miller met with similar resistance.

``I asked them, `You've never heard of Los Alamos, where they did all the atomic testing?' It's right next to Arizona, underneath Colorado, next to Texas and Oklahoma, there is a state called New Mexico. It's a beautiful state with mountains, snow and trees. ... We have a big city called Albuquerque.''

Miller said the supervisor suggested he contact the Mexican or Puerto Rican Olympic committees.

``What if I told you I lived in Colorado, California, Arizona, Texas or Oklahoma?'' Miller asked the supervisor.

He was told that would be no problem.

``I told her New Mexico is right in between all those states.''

Growing concerned that he would lose out on the volleyball tickets, Miller went to Plan B. He had moved to Santa Fe two years ago from Phoenix and still maintains a residence there, so he decided to have the tickets mailed to his Phoenix address.

That did the trick.

But before hanging up, Miller decided he'd try to smooth the way for any other New Mexican who might call the Atlanta ticket office.

``I told her (supervisor), if she wanted, I would fax her a map of the southwestern United States,'' Miller said. ``I told her, I've only lived here two years, but if you get a native New Mexican, they're going to get all over you. Natives here are proud people. She told me that wasn't necessary, and she would do some research into it.''

Scott Anderson, managing director of games services for the Summer Olympics, promised it won't happen again.

``Obviously we made a mistake, and we want to apologize to everybody out in New Mexico,'' Anderson said Wednesday by telephone from Atlanta. ``The good news is that of all the mistakes we could make, this one is at least easily fixable.''

He said many tickets remain available in 10 sports, including volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball, field hockey, rowing, canoeing, shooting, yachting and gymnastics.