The London Olympic Stadium is expected to be among the main attractions during the 2012 Summer Olympics. Located in the southern part of Olympic Park in Stratford, East London, and surrounded by water on three sides, the stadium is nearly on its own island. Several major events will be held at the 80,000-seat facility, including the massive opening and closing ceremonies. Spectators will be able to access the stadium entrances via five bridges across the surrounding waterways. This venue will host some of the most popular events during the games, including the 2012 Olympics track and field events, such as relays, the decathlon, sprints, and the jumping and throwing competitions.
With the high seating capacity of the 2012 Olympic Stadium in London, it becomes the third-largest in the country, after Twickenham and Wembley Stadium, which will also be hosting events during the Olympic games. After the Olympics have finished, the London Olympic Stadium will be converted into a 25,000-seat sporting arena and will host other area events, including local sporting competitions; of the 80,000 seats at the stadium, the other 55,000 are part of a temporary upper tier, made of lightweight steel and concrete.
One of the most unusual characteristics of the 2012 Olympic Stadium is the exterior wrap, as it’s called. The 66-foot feature will surround the temporary upper tier of the stadium and will be decorated with murals. Made completely from environmentally friendly fabric, the exterior wrap will encircle the nearly 3,000-foot circumference of the stadium.
In addition to its unique and decorative exterior, which will allow the upper tier of the stadium to be easily dismantled following the games, the Olympic Stadium in London will have party concourses outside the main arena. Inspired by the successful fan concourses at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, as well as other major international events, these areas at the 2012 Olympics will offer a lively atmosphere to a cheering crowd, even those who were unable to get tickets to their favorite events. There will also be merchandise outlets and concessions available on a podium outside the stadium, though there will be no food outlets available inside the venue. The London Olympic Stadium also has plenty to offer the athletes, including medical support facilities, changing rooms, and a warm-up track.
Part of the green initiative, which plans to convert the industrial part of East London into a sustainable local eco-park after the Games, the 2012 Olympic Stadium will be made entirely out of recycled materials. For instance, the restroom areas, called pods, will be made from recycled shipping containers; this is intended to reduce the cost of plumbing and to make it easier to dismantle the temporary parts of the structure once the Olympics have ended in the fall of 2012.
Although there are historical venues being used for the London games, including Wembley Stadium, the All England Club at Wimbledon, and the Royal Artillery Barracks, the Olympic Stadium in London is one of the facilities being built specifically for this event, and with its excellent design and high-quality facilities, it is sure to remain a popular venue for years to come.
Image: London 2012