Monday, 4 January 2010

Olympic Stadium - Skysports blog


Countdown to 2012

Olympic Stadium makes progress...

With just over two-and-a-half years to go until London hosts the 2012 Olympic Games, SkySports Olympic blogger, Nicola Bamford reveals how the centre-piece of our sporting spectacular has successfully reached a significant landmark.

The ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority) – the public body responsible for developing and building the new venues and infrastructure for during and after the Games, announced the exciting news this week that the Olympic Stadium has welcomed a new cable net roof; ensuring that the Stadium project remains on target for completion by the summer of 2011 – and when the inevitable happens, everyone will keep dry.

Set to be covered with material in the spring of 2010, the roof will cover two-thirds of spectators and ODA Chairman John Armitt spoke of his delight:

“The successful lift of the Stadium’s cable roof is another milestone reached on the construction of this flagship venue. It has been a complex engineering and construction challenge, complicated by the wind and rain in recent weeks. We remain firmly on track and will lift the lighting towers into place early next year, taking the Stadium to its full height.

Good progress

“We continue to make good progress across the project, though there are still challenges ahead. The next year will be our toughest as the number of workers increases and activity on the Olympic Park reaches its peak so we cannot afford any complacency.”Following the phenomenal Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing 2008, designed by our Chinese counterparts, the pressure is on to produce an incredible nucleus for sport in the British capital.

Lord Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, said of the 80,000-seater stadium: “It is exciting to see so much progress being made on the Stadium and on all of the Olympic Park which is becoming reality, with a landscape that will transform east London at Games time and beyond.”

Construction of the Olympic Stadium began in May 2008 and progress to date includes:

· More than 4,500 reinforced concrete columns installed as the foundations.
· 12,000 pre-cast concrete terracing units installed for the seating.
· All five bridges in place, connecting the Stadium island to the rest of the Olympic Park.
· Fast progressions on the 700 rooms and spaces within the Stadium, including changing rooms and toilets.

Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said: “Iconic venues such as the Stadium and the Aquatics Centre will come to symbolise London in 2012 and, thanks to the rapid progress of the build, they are already having a real impact on the London skyline.”

In 2010, a 650-tonne crane is set to be assembled in the middle of the Stadium site to lift the 28m-high lighting gantries onto the inner-ring of the cable net roof, taking them 60m above the field of play.

Providing sustainability

The Olympic Stadium will play host to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Athletics action. With a capacity of 80,000 during the Games between July 27th and August 12th in 2012 and again a fortnight later during the Paralympic Games for two-weeks, the stadium seating will then be reduced to 25,000; providing manageable sustainability.

These 25,000 permanent seats will sit in the lower tier of the stadium, whilst a lightweight steel and concrete upper-tier, holding a further 55,000, will sit above. A 20m-high 'wrap' encircling the upper tier will ensure it can be easily dismantled after the Games.

Island life

The Olympic Stadium will be located in the south of the Olympic Park on an ‘island’ site, surrounded by waterways on three sides. Spectators will reach the venue via five bridges that link the site to the surrounding area. Sounds very glamorous. Spectator services, refreshments and merchandise outlets will be located outside the venue on a ‘podium’ that will surround the Stadium, rather than being located within the Stadium itself. Sounds annoying.

Several ‘test events’ will take place in the Stadium from 2010 in the count-down to the Games, many of which will be for school-children and those within the athletics community, but the real test for our new national stadium will be whether it can cope and impress during the Olympic Games itself.

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