Today marked the end of construction on London’s most avidly-awaited structure over the last three years – the Olympic Stadium for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Designed by Populous, the ‘centre piece’ of the Stratford site is an ellipse, measuring 315m at its longest axis and 256m at its shortest axis. The final step will be to lay the running track, put off to ensure its protection during the programme of temporary overlay work for ceremonies.
Construction on the project commenced in May 2008 and now, less than three years later, the Olympic Stadium has been completed on time, under budget and touting an exemplary safety record. A ceremonial laying of the last strip of turf was attended by Chairman of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and Olympian Frank Fredericks, Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) Chairman John Armitt, London 2012 Chair Sebastian Coe and 400m hurdles Olympic medallist Tasha Danvers. Local schoolchildren also turned out to watch the completion of this important project.
Designed to host track and field events, and the opening and closing ceremonies, the Olympic Stadium is surrounded by water on three sides and is able to seat up to 80,000 spectators in its widely flexible interior. Over 5,250 individuals worked together to complete the project on time, with the vividly green grass grown especially in Scunthorpe as a special blend of Perennial Rye Grass, Smooth Stalk Meadow Grass and Fescue Grass seeds.
Clearly proud of today’s achievements, LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe commented: “The Olympic Stadium will be the beating heart of the new Olympic Park and it is testament to the fantastic work put in by Team Stadium and the ODA that construction is complete on time and within budget. However there is still much to do. We now come in and do some work in preparation of ceremonies, to dress the stadium to ensure it has a London 2012 feel throughout and of course, the final touch – to lay the track.”