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Olympic Stadium (London)

The Stadium at
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Aerial view of the Stadium in April 2012
Former names London 2012 Olympic Stadium
Location Olympic Park
Owner Greater London Authority
Operator London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC)
Capacity Athletics: 60,000, Pitch: 54,000, Concerts: maximum capacity: 80,000[1]
Surface Grass (Desso), Track (Mondo)[2]
Broke ground 2007
Built 2008–2011
Opened 2011
Renovated 2013–2016
Construction cost £486 million[3]
(£529 million in 2016 pounds[4])
Architect Populous
Structural engineer Buro Happold
Services engineer Buro Happold
Main contractors Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty (Conversion)
2012 Summer Olympics
2012 Summer Paralympics
2015 Rugby World Cup
British Athletics (2015–)
West Ham United F.C. (2016–)
2017 World Championships in Athletics

The Stadium[5] at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, commonly known as the Olympic Stadium, is a stadium located in Stratford, London, England. It is located at Marshgate Lane in London's Stratford district in the Lower Lea Valley. It was constructed primarily to serve as the host stadium for the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, where it hosted the track and field events, along with its opening and closing ceremonies. The stadium is located 6.5 miles (10.5 km) from Central London, but six minutes away from the London St. Pancras rail station via Stratford International Highspeed rail services.

The stadium is being used intermittently whilst under renovation. As part of the renovation, the lower seating bowl will be replaced with a retractable seating system allowing for acceptable seating for both athletics and pitch sports. Once fully re-opened in 2016, it will have a standard capacity of 54,000 and will be the long-term home of West Ham United Football Club and British Athletics. The decision to make West Ham United the main tenants was a controversial one. As well as its regular tenants, the stadium will continue to be used for a series of special events. Notably the stadium is hosting several 2015 Rugby World Cup matches, and will host both the 2017 IAAF World Championships in Athletics and the 2017 IPC Athletics World Championships, the first time both events have been held in the same location consecutively.

Land preparation for the stadium began in mid-2007, with the official construction start date on 22 May 2008, although piling works for the foundation began four weeks ahead of that date. The stadium held its first public event in March 2012, serving as the finish line for a celebrity running event organised by the National Lottery.[6] The stadium had a capacity of 80,000, making it the third-largest stadium in England behind Wembley and Twickenham.


  • Design and construction 1
    • Evolution of the design brief 1.1
    • Olympic design 1.2
    • Exterior wrap 1.3
    • Roof 1.4
    • Floodlight towers 1.5
    • Stadium island 1.6
    • Stadium interior 1.7
    • Playing surface 1.8
  • Response 2
  • Transport 3
  • London 2012 4
  • After Olympics 5
    • Bids 5.1
      • Bid 1 – AEG and Tottenham Hotspur 5.1.1
      • Bid 2 – West Ham United and Newham Council 5.1.2
      • Expressed interest 5.1.3
    • Decision 5.2
    • Judicial review and independent investigation 5.3
    • Tenancy bids 5.4
      • Stadium operator 5.4.1
      • Stadium naming rights 5.4.2
    • Redevelopment 5.5
      • Community track 5.5.1
    • Sports 5.6
      • American football 5.6.1
      • Athletics 5.6.2
        • 2013 Anniversary Games
        • Anniversary Games
        • 2017 World Athletics and IPC Athletics World Championships
      • Cricket 5.6.3
      • Football 5.6.4
      • Motor Sport 5.6.5
      • Rugby league 5.6.6
      • Rugby union 5.6.7
        • 2015 Rugby World Cup
    • Concerts 5.7
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Design and construction

Evolution of the design brief

The evolution of the Olympic Stadium design has not been straightforward. During London's bid for the games, promotional materials featured a main stadium with a roof "designed to wrap itself around the venue like muscles supporting the body.",[7] however at that time there had been no formal design brief agreed. While the bidding process was ongoing West Ham had talks[8] with the ODA about contributing to the development of a multi-purpose stadium, should London win the bid.[9] The government preferred to produce a brief for an athletics only stadium which would be largely disassembled after the games with the lower tier remaining in place as a permanent athletics facility to replace the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. With the original Olympic design finalized and being built, the government had a change of heart and a bidding process for a multi-sport post-Olympic legacy was launched.

Olympic design

On 13 October 2006, Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal F.C..[10][11] The stadium design was launched on 7 November 2007. The construction of the stadium was due to start in April 2008 ahead of scheduled commencement date of August 2008.[12][13][14] Construction of the stadium commenced three months early in May 2008 after the bowl of the stadium had been dug out and the area cleared.[14][15] The building of the stadium was completed in March 2011 reportedly on time and under budget,[16] with the athletics track laid in October 2011.[3]

Exploded view of the stadium's layers

The stadium's track and field arena is excavated out of the soft clay found on the site, around which is permanent seating for 25,000, built using concrete "rakers". The natural slope of the land is incorporated into the design, with warm-up and changing areas dug into a semi-basement position at the lower end. Spectators enter the stadium via a podium level, which is level with the top of the permanent seating bowl. A demountable lightweight steel and pre-cast concrete upper tier is built up from this "bowl" to accommodate a further 55,000 spectators.[17]

The Olympic Stadium interior

The stadium is made up of different tiers; during the Games the stadium was able to hold 80,000 spectators. The base tier, which allows for 25,000 seats, is a sunken elliptical bowl that is made up of low-carbon-dioxide concrete; this contains 40 percent less embodied carbon than conventional concrete.[18] The foundation of the base level is 5,000 piles reaching up to 20 metres deep. From there, there is a mixture of driven cast in situ piles, continuous flight auger piles, and vibro concrete columns. The second tier, which holds 55,000 seats, is 315 metres long, 256 metres wide, and 60 metres high.[19] The stadium contains just under a quarter of the steel as the Olympic Stadium in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, approximately 10,700 tons. In addition to the minimal use of steel, which makes it 75 percent lighter, the stadium also uses high-yield large diameter pipes which were surplus on completion of North Sea Gas pipeline projects, recycled granite, and many of the building products were transported using trains and barges rather than by lorry.[20]

Exterior wrap

The Olympic Stadium during the 2012 Summer Olympics

A wrap was suggested to take the form of a continuous video screen around the stadium in 2008.[21] Organisers decided instead to go ahead with a fabric wrap which was reported to cost £7 million, though following a spending review and tender was put out to the private sector to provide the wrap.[22][23][24][25] On 4 August 2011, it was announced that Dow Chemical Company would fund the wrap for the stadium, in return for being able to advertise on the wrap until 26 June 2012, at which point all advertising and logos would be removed as per Olympic requirements. The wrap is made from polyester and polyethylene, is printed using UV curable inks and encircles the stadium. Installation of the wrap began on 14 April 2012.[26] The wrap was made of pieces of material that covered 20 metres (66 feet) high and 900-metre (1,000-yard) in length. The final design for the wrap consists of 2.5 m-wide fabric panels, twisted at 90-degree angles to allow entry to the stadium at the bottom of the structure, and held in place with tensioned cables.[27][28] Initially plastic, or an environmentally sustainable fabric such as hemp, was suggested to be wrapped around the stadium exterior and imprinted with a mural-type design.[27]


To allow for fast on-site assembly, compression truss and roof column connections were bolted; this will also enable easy disassembling of the roof structure after the closing ceremonies.[29] The cable-supported roof structure covers approximately two-thirds of the stadium's seating.[30] A six-month study conducted by Olympic organisers found that while no roof at all could invalidate any potential world records set at the stadium, a partial roof reduced the chance of winds that can invalidate sprint and jump records from fifty percent to five percent. The roof is made from a phthalate-free polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fabric to keep costs down.

Dan Epstein Head of Sustainable Development at Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) says

As we have done in the past with materials such as timber and concrete, we want to use the opportunity of hosting the London 2012 Games to work with industry to set new standards. In this case this may help move the industry towards more sustainable manufacture, use and disposal of PVC fabrics. [31]

Floodlight towers

Reaching 70m above the field of play, the stadium roof held 14 lighting towers, or paddles, that collectively contained a total of 532 individual 2 kW floodlight lamps. Each tower weighed approximately 35 tonnes and contained an average of 35 lamps each, with a maximum of 44. The lights were first official switched on in December 2010 by Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson.[32] During the games, the towers were fitted with additional ceremony lighting, and 4 of the 14 towers held large temporary video screens. The lights were intended to be removed after the games, and despite rumours of efforts to retain the iconic towers, they were judged to weigh too much to be included in the transformed stadium roof for West Ham. The floodlights were removed in opposite pairs to prevent the roof structure from buckling, starting with the first two in November 2013. The original bulbs are to be reused in the new floodlight paddles, designed to mirror the old ones, and the steel frames were scrapped and recycled.[33]

Stadium island

The Olympic Stadium site under construction in October 2009

The stadium site is on former industrial land between the River Lea (which rejoins the Navigation below Old Ford Lock), the City Mill River, and the Old Pudding Mill River; parts of the Bow Back Rivers.[34] Another branch of this system, St Thomas' Creek, 200 metres (660 feet) to the south, completes an "island" surrounded by water.[28][35] Two hundred metres to the east is the Waterworks River; with the London Aquatics Centre on its eastern bank. This "island" site for the stadium lies at the southern end of the Olympic Park.[28]

To make room for the stadium, the already partially obstructed Pudding Mill River, a short channel of the Lea which ran from the west side of the stadium south-eastwards across the stadium site, was filled in. The site of the former entrance to this channel can still be seen as a distinct bay in the wall of the River Lea on the west side of the stadium.

The stadium has been built on the site of the northern corner of Marshgate Lane and Knobs Hill Road, Stratford, London E15. The Knobs Hill Road trading estate was one of the industrial areas demolished to make way for the Olympic Park. The stadium occupies the northern part of the former estate. Knobs Hill Road was probably named to commemorate Knobs Hill Cottage, Marshgate Lane, Stratford, which stood from the 19th century until the inter war period (1919–1939). According to the 1886 Stratford Trade Directory, it belonged to Mr George Stroud. His occupation was listed as "pig dealer". The cottage is named on the contemporary Essex, Middlesex and London 1:2500 and one inch Ordnance Survey maps. The cottage appears to be associated with the Knobs Hill flour mill, which stood at the northern end of the Pudding Mill River. The first mill on the site was Nobshill Windmill, in the Manor of West Ham. The cottage site appears to be within the stadium boundary, the mills stood slightly to the northeast.[36]

Stadium interior

The stadium is equipped with a nine lane Mondo 400 metres athletics track.[37] The turf in the stadium was grown in Scunthorpe and was a mix of perennial ryegrass, smooth stalk meadow grass and fescue grass seeds. It took 360 roles of grass to cover the infield and was laid in March 2011.[38] The track was designed by Italian company Mondo was their latest version of the Mondotrack FTX.[2][39][40] It also has a 60-metre (200 ft) indoor sprint track and will have space for lectures, offices, commercial, conference and hospitality. It is also envisaged by the London Legacy Development Corporation that the stadium will host tours, concerts and art and culture events.[37]

The stadium's 80,000 seats have a black and white 'fragment' theme that matches the overall branding design used by LOCOG for London 2012. The lines all centre on the finish line in the stadium.[28] The seats were made in Luton and were fitted between May and December 2010.[41]

During the Games, the Stadium's grandstands contained a lighting system developed by Tait Technologies that allowed them to function as a giant video screen. Individual "paddles" containing nine LED pixels each were installed between each seat of the stadium, which were controlled via a central system to display video content wrapped around the stadium. The system was primarily intended for use during the ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics – over 70 minutes of animated content were used during the Olympics' opening ceremony.[42]

Playing surface

The red Mondo 400m athletics track used for the London 2012 games was laid in August 2011 and is 13.5 mm (0.5 in) thick. It uses two vulcanised rubber layers, one of which is a cushioning underside with elongated diamond-shaped cells, which allows them to flex in any direction.[43] During the four London 2012 ceremonies, the track was protected via synthetic covering. For the stadium's transformation, the track has been protected from construction work for the 2015 events by covering it with a plastic sheet layer and burying it under 75 cm of soil. The grass playing field was lengthened by several meters either end for the 2015 rugby matches to fit a suitably-sized rugby pitch.


The stadium design received a mixed response from the media, with reviews ranging from "magnificent" to a "bowl of blancmange".[44] The design was promoted as example of "sustainable development", but some architecture critics have questioned both its aesthetic value and suitability as a national icon – especially when compared to Beijing National Stadium. For example, Ellis Woodman, Building Designs architecture critic, said of the design: "The principle of it being dismountable is most welcome... it demonstrates an obvious interest in establishing an economy of means and as such is the antithesis of the 2008 Olympic stadium in Beijing. But while that's an achievement, it's not an architectural achievement. In design terms what we're looking at is pretty underwhelming." He went on to criticise the procurement and design processes – stating of the latter that it should have been subject to an architectural competition.[45] This view was echoed by Tom Dyckhoff, The Times's architecture critic, who described the design as "tragically underwhelming" and commented that the "architecture of the 2008 and 2012 Olympics will, in years to come, be seen by historians as a "cunning indicator of the decline of the West and the rise of the East".[46] Despite the criticism the Olympic Stadium was nominated for the 2012 Stirling Prize in architecture losing out to the Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.[47][48]

Amanda Baillieu writing in Building Design challenged the designer's claims that the stadium is environmentally sustainable and good value for money. Instead, it is asserted that the reality will be the opposite. In particular, she claimed that:

  • the temporary roof could not be reused to cover the permanent 25,000 seating area – given the difference in size;
  • it is unlikely that the removed seating would be wanted for any other event e.g. the Glasgow Commonwealth Games; and
  • the costs involved in dismantling the stadium – and surrounding "pods" – has not been factored into the estimated cost.[49]

The cost of £537 million compared to cost of 1908 Olympic Stadium £60,000 (£5,629,148.93 adjusted with up to 2010 inflation rate).[50]


Stratford and Stratford International stations are the nearest to the Olympic Park.

Stratford International is served by trains on HS1 offering 4 trains per hours to St. Pancras International, as well as other services to Kent.

Different platform signage (clockwise from top left) London Overground, Docklands Light Railway, Jubilee line, National Express East Anglia

The stadium is served by 19 different bus service which call at Stratford bus station or Stratford City bus station which is near the train station. National express services 010, A9 and 741 also call at the bus station. For those who decide to travel to the stadium in their car they are advised to use the public car parks at Westfield Stratford City, Stratford International station and the Stratford Centre.[51]

London 2012

David Rudisha of Kenya setting a World Record for the 800 metres in the Olympic final.

The Olympic Stadium hosted its first public event on 31 March 2012, serving as the finish line for the Chariots of Fire to run the final 300m on its track.[6] The stadium hosted two warm up events for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as part of the London Prepares Series. The venue hosted the British Universities Athletics Championships and the London Disability Grand Prix in May 2012.[52][53] On 6 May around 40,000 people attended for an event entitled 2,012 hours to go an evening of athletics and entertainment.[54] The evening was hosted by Gabby Logan and Vernon Kay during which Jon Culshaw, Mel C, Hugh Bonneville, Chipmonk and Jack Whitehall appeared. Niamh Clarke-Willis a nine-year-old was chosen to officially open the stadium.[55] During the London Disability Grand Prix, Paul Blake (T36, 1500 metres), Hannah Cockroft (T34, 100 metres), Michael McKillop (T37, 1500 metres) and Richard Whitehead (T42, 200 metres) all set new World Records.[56] The stadium also played host to the athletics events of the British school games.[57][58]

The stadium hosted both the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2012 Olympic Games.[59] During the Athletics events of the Olympic Games David Rudisha broke his own world record for the 800 metres to become the first man to run the distance in under 1 min 41 seconds.[60] In the 4 by 100 Metres relay the team from Jamaica also broke their own world record from the 2011 World Championships by two-tenths of a second.[61] The United States women's 4 by 100 metres team beat the previous best set by East Germany in 1985, recording a time of 40.82 to set a new world record.[62][63] Olympic records were set by Usain Bolt, who ran the second fastest 100 metres,[64] Renaud Lavillenie in the Pole vault by one centimetre,[65] Sally Pearson recorded a record time in the 100 metres hurdles and Tatyana Lysenko set a new mark in the Hammer.[66][67]

The stadium also hosted both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Paralympic Games.[68][69] Over the course of the Paralympic Games athletics events, world records were set on the track by; Oxana Boturchuk[70] Martina Caironi,[71] Chen Junfei,[72] El Amin Chentouf,[73] China,[74] Libby Clegg,[70] Arnu Fourie,[75] Marie-Amelie le Fur,[72] Terezinha Guilhermina,[71] Mahmoud Khaldi,[72] Samwel Mushai Kimani,[73] Walid Ktila.[76] Liang Yongbin,[74] Rosemary Little,[77] Liu Ping,[78] Liu Wenjun,[74] Gunther Matzinger,[74] Michael McKillop,[75] Mateusz Michalski,[74] Yohansson Nascimento,[79] Oscar Pistorius,[75] David Prince,[74] Evgenii Shvetcov[76] South Africa,[71] Leo Pekka Tahti,[70] Abraham Tarbei,[76] Iurii Tsaruk,[72] Richard Whitehead,[70] Abderrahim Zhiou,[76] Zhu Daqing and Zhou Guohua.[70] Multiple World Records on the track were set by Yunidis Castillo,[74][75] Assia El Hannouni,[72][80] Evan O'Hanlon,[75][81] Jason Smyth,[75][78][82] Fanie van der Merwe and Marlou van Rhijn.[72][74][75][81][83] In the field events, World records were set by Hani Alnakhli,[78] Alexey Ashapatov,[82] Aigars Apinis[84] Lahouari Bahlaz,[78] Mohamed Berrahal,[84] Kelly Cartwright,[85] Yanlong Fu,[86] Leonardo Diaz,[83] Zeljko Dimitrijevic,[77] Tanja Dragic,[85] Najat El Garraa,[82] Javad Hardani,[78] Todd Hodgetts,[78] Jun Wang,[85] Maroua Ibrahmi,[70] Juan Yao,[87] Mohsen Kaedi,[75] Mohammad Khalvandi,[74] Gocha Khugaev,[71] Karolina Kucharczyk,[73] Assunta Legnante,[83] Maciej Lepiato,[74] Liu Fuliang,[75] Drazenko Mitrovic,[83] Azeddine Nouiri,[76] Katarzyna Piekart,[75] Mariia Pomazan,[85] Nikita Prokhorov,[72] Qing Wu,[85] Markus Rehm,[82] Raoua Tlili,[74] Wang Yanzhang,[78] Zhu Pengkai,[71] Oksana Zubkovska.[86] Multiple records were set in the field by Dong Xia,[78][83] Birgit Kober,[72][73] Na Mi,[84] Yang Liwan,[71][75] and Wang Zhiming.[76][86]

After Olympics

The government rejected the option of a multi-purpose stadium and commissioned a part-temporary athletics only stadium. However, with the stadium well on its way to completion, it re-assessed its position on the legacy use and configuration of the site and a bidding process for the lease of the site was prepared.

The OPLC's five criteria were that the new tenant should produce a viable long-term solution that provided value for money, secured a partner with the expertise to operate a legacy solution, reopened the stadium as quickly as possible, made the stadium a distinctive physical symbol that supported regeneration and which allowed flexible usage.[88]

After receiving and pre-screening over 100 expressions of interest, the formal bidding process of selecting the post-Olympics user of the stadium opened on 18 August 2010. It ran until 30 September, after which the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) drew up a shortlist, with a view to selecting a tenant by the end of the financial year, by 31 March.[89]

On 12 November 2010, it was announced that two bids had been shortlisted for the stadium post-Olympics. They were a joint bid from Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), with the second bid from West Ham United F.C. and Newham Council.[90]


Bid 1 – AEG and Tottenham Hotspur

Artist's impression of the proposed new stadium by AEG and Tottenham Hotspur

These joint bidders had expressed individual interest in the venue but submitted a joint bid to take over. AEG is the company that redeveloped the loss making Millennium Dome exhibition venue in South East London into the profitable music venue The O2. When the formal bidding process opened, little was known of AEG's plans for the stadium, but they were described as among the front-runners of interested parties, along with West Ham.[91] On 26 July 2010, it was rumoured that Tottenham might be interested in taking over the stadium post-Games. The club had plans to build a new stadium adjacent to their current home, but the capacity could not reach that of the Olympic Stadium, making a move much more attractive to the club.

Bid 2 – West Ham United and Newham Council

Artist's impression of the proposed redeveloped stadium by West Ham United and Newham Council

Following the takeover in 2010 by David Gold and David Sullivan, the new owners of West Ham United expressed their desire to make the stadium as the club's new home. With Boris Johnson expressing his desire for a football team to take over the stadium after the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics this seemed the most likely option.[92] At the opening of the formal bid process, West Ham United were considered favourites once they reversed from their initial opposition to keeping the running track as well as planning a £100m conversion to create a 60,000 capacity venue, which would also host international football, international athletics, as well as Essex County Cricket Club, international Twenty20 cricket matches, NFL games and Live Nation events.[93]

Expressed interest

The legacy plan for the stadium had involved converting it into a 25,000 to 30,000-seat athletics stadium with a sports training, science and medicine centre following the 2012 Paralympics. Media reports, however, suggested that several potential tenants were interested in moving to the stadium after the games, among them the England and Wales Cricket Board, along with several professional London sport teams:

Despite several rounds of negotiations with potential tenants, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, stated that all parties need to look carefully at the legacy plans for the stadium and did not rule out use by either a professional football or rugby team. With this in mind, the contract for building the stadium clearly stated that it must stay as a usable athletics track available for competition and training at any time.


On 11 February 2011, the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) selected West Ham United and Newham Council as the preferred bidder to take over the stadium after the 2012 Games in a unanimous decision.[104] However, Leyton Orient complained that the stadium is too close to their ground and would breach FA rules. They claimed that West Ham's plans could force them into bankruptcy.[105] On 3 March 2011, West Ham United's proposed move to the stadium was approved by the British Government and London Mayor Boris Johnson.[106]

Judicial review and independent investigation

Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and Leyton Orient F.C. applied for a judicial review to overturn the Olympic Park Legacy Company's (OPLC) decision; however, this appeal was rejected in June 2011.[107] Tottenham Hotspur appealed the decision not to have a review on 29 June 2011.[108]

The OPLC announced on 5 July 2011 that an independent review into the awarding of the Olympic Park Stadium to West Ham United was to be carried out following the discovery on 30 June 2011 that an employee, Dionne Knight had been engaged by West Ham United to carry out consultancy work relating to the stadium without permission of the OPLC. Knight had already declared to the OPLC that she was in a personal relationship with a director of West Ham United, and was suspended whilst a possible conflict of interest was investigated.[109] On 22 August 2011, the independent investigation ruled that the process was not compromised and thus the bid process will not be reopened.[110]

On 23 August, the day before Tottenham Hotspur were due in court, they staged "intense negotiations" with the office of the Mayor of London, and looked set to drop all claims for a review and be offered funding for their own stadium.[111] However, the next day Tottenham did attend court despite being close to striking a deal about their own stadium. Tottenham and Leyton Orient won a review of the decision, being told that they had an arguable case.[112] The review was scheduled to take place on 18 October 2011. Even if Tottenham abandoned the review, due to being granted a new stadium, Orient were expected to continue, with its owner Barry Hearn calling the decision to grant a review "a great day for the little man".[113]

Tenancy bids

On 11 October 2011, following the emergence of concerns in respect of European Union competition law and particularly the risk of illegal state aid,[114][115][116] the deal to sell the stadium to West Ham was abandoned.[117] Once the original deal collapsed a new process to select a tenant was begun. The athletics legacy clause was clarified to ensure that a track remained in the stadium.[118] West Ham immediately announced plans to become tenants of the stadium.[119][120] On 18 October, Leyton Orient submitted an application to the Football League for permission for a move to the stadium. Chairman Barry Hearn said, "We are asking for a 25,000-seater stadium and we want to see if we can get around the athletics track. It has to stay, we know that. But can we build up, if not down, and see if it's possible to get it covered while we play?".[121]

In February 2012, 16 parties were interested in the stadium.[122] By March 2012, West Ham were named as one of the four bidders for the stadium. A decision was to be made by the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) in May 2012 and ratified by June,[123] but the deadline for submitting bids was extended. The OPLC aimed to have a contract in place by October 2012.[124] The other three bidders were named as:[125][126]

In April 2012, the Olympic Park Legacy Company was dismantled and responsibilities transferred to the newly constituted

Preceded by
Beijing National Stadium
Summer Olympics
Opening and Closing Ceremonies (Olympic Stadium)

Succeeded by
Estádio do Maracanã
Rio de Janeiro
Preceded by
Beijing National Stadium
Summer Paralympics
Opening and Closing Ceremonies (Olympic Stadium)

Succeeded by
Estádio do Maracanã
Rio de Janeiro
Preceded by
Beijing National Stadium
Olympic Athletics competitions
Main Venue

Succeeded by
Estádio Olímpico João Havelange
Rio de Janeiro
Preceded by
Beijing National Stadium
Paralympic Athletics competitions
Main Venue

Succeeded by
Estádio Olímpico João Havelange
Rio de Janeiro
Preceded by
Beijing National Stadium
World Championships in Athletics
Main Venue

Succeeded by
Khalifa International Stadium
  • London 2012 Olympics profile

External links

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  4. ^ UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2015), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
  5. ^ "Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park official website". London Legacy Development Corporation. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
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  9. ^ "Eggert targets top four – and life away from Upton Park". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  10. ^ "Negotiations Start with Arsenal Stadium Team". London 2012 Official Website. Retrieved 19 December 2007.
  11. ^ Kernon, Sophie; McGee, Brian (16 October 2006). "Sir Robert McAlpine Chosen to Build London's Olympic Stadium".  
  12. ^ Administrator. "London Olympic Stadium, Building, Photos, Architect, London Olympics Stadium Building". Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "London unveils 2012 stadium plan". BBC News. 7 November 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
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  17. ^ Spring, Martin (5 September 2008). "On Your Marks: Countdown to 2012, London's Olympic Stadium".  
  18. ^ "Olympic Stadium 2012". London Olympic Stadium. 
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  20. ^ Radnedge, Aidan. "Why Plymouth Argyle and Dartford FC Are Top of Eco-Friendly League Table".  
  21. ^ Booth, Robert (23 August 2008). "Wrap Around Video Screen Proposed for London Stadium".  
  22. ^ Kelso, Paul (11 November 2010). "Ditched Olympic Stadium wrap exposes London 2012's failings". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  23. ^ "London 2012 Olympic organisers urged to find funds for £7m stadium wrap". The Daily Telegraph. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
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In January 2013 music concert promoter Live Nation won the right to stage shows at the stadium and in the surrounding Park.[243] Hard Rock Calling, Wireless Festival and Electric Daisy Carnival were held in July but in the Park and not the stadium itself.


In July 2012 the Olympic Park Legacy Company submitted a bid to England Rugby 2015 to host some matches of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. It was mooted that the stadium could hold pool matches and even the third place play–off. However the main sticking point would be whether it could meet the International Rugby Board's demands for the tournament including being free from advertising. If successful the stadium would be likely to replace the Emirates Stadium.[238] In September 2012 it was confirmed that if the stadium had a tenant by the time the stadia were chosen then it could appear.[239] In October 2012 the stadium was short listed for the competition.[240] However, by February 2013 the London Legacy Development Corporation and England 2015 were pessimistic about the stadium being used during competition. The main issue being that work on the roof, which requires cranes, would take place at the same time as the work on the seats whilst the pitch would be ripped up so that at the same time under soil heating could be installed. Officials had talked about using the stadium without a roof but were worried about the cost and embarrassment factors if the plan to complete the stadium was delayed.[241] On 2 May 2013, it was officially announced that the Olympic Stadium will host four Pool matches during the World Cup and the Bronze final.[242]

2015 Rugby World Cup
List of rugby union matches at the Olympic stadium
Date Country Score Country Use
29 August 2015 Barbarians 27–24  Samoa 2015 RWC Warm-up
23 September 2015 France  38–11  Romania 2015 Rugby World Cup
24 September 2015 New Zealand  58–14  Namibia
4 October 2015 Ireland  16–9  Italy
7 October 2015 South Africa  64–0  United States
30 October 2015 South Africa  20–



The first Rugby union match at the stadium took place on 29 August 2015 as part of a testing programme ahead of the World Cup. The match featured the first ever game between the invitational Barbarians side and Samoa.[234][235][236] The Barbarians won 27–24, with Samoa having Kane Thompson sent off for punching. The game was delayed when pitch sprinklers came on during the first half.[237]

Lineout from the match involving Namibia and New Zealand.

Rugby union

The first Rugby league match will take place between England and New Zealand on 7 November 2015. The match will be the second of a three-game series between the sides.[232][233]

Rugby league

In June 2015 it was announced that the stadium would play host to the 2015 Race of Champions event. It will be the first occasion since 2008 that Great Britain has hosted the event, with Wembley last staging the contest.[231]

Motor Sport

West Ham United will play at the stadium from the 2016–17 football season.[229][230] The club announced in March 2013 that the stands behind the goals will be named after legends Bobby Moore and Trevor Brooking; there are stands at Upton Park that are named after them.[179]


In May 2014 it was announced that Essex had agreed a deal in principle to play Twenty20 matches at the stadium. Derek Bowden the Essex chief executive stated that Middlesex and Kent were interested in hosting matches at the stadium to create a two-week festival of cricket from 2016.[228]


In October 2012 it was revealed that London was the only formal bidder for the IPC Athletics World Championships. Discussions were underway between UK Athletics, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) before the success of the 2012 Summer Paralympics. The original plan was for the championships to be held at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, but the GLA will make up any of the additional cost to hold it in London. The deal would be the first time that both the Paralympic and able-bodied World Athletics Championships would be held in the same location. The IPC Athletics World Championships are scheduled to take place a month before the able-bodied event.[226] The World Championships were formally confirmed in December 2012.[227]

London had bid to host the 2015 World Athletics Championships using the Olympic Stadium. It went up against Beijing's Olympic Stadium and the Polish city of Chorzów. However, the stadium had to pull out of the running of hosting the championships due to uncertainties arising out of the timing of the announcement of who would operate the stadium after the Olympics, thus gifting Beijing the championships.[222] With issues resolved over the stadium's future, London again used the stadium to bid for the 2017 World Athletics Championships.[223] The bid was made official in August with Lord Coe personally submitting the bid a few weeks later at the 2011 World Athletic Championships in Daegu which was supported by London's Mayor Boris Johnson and the British Government.[224] Following Tottenham winning the right to a review on 18 October 2011, just three weeks before the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) vote on the 2017 championships host, Lord Coe, on 25 August 2011, stated that the bid would be unaffected by the legal battle. UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner added, "Whatever the outcome of that process there is going to be a track in that stadium and that's what matters and that's the commitment we're making to the IAAF."[113] On 11 November 2011, the IAAF officially awarded the 2017 World Championships to London.[225]

2017 World Athletics and IPC Athletics World Championships

The event will be the last to use the original Mondo track surface from 2012 before it is replaced.

The Sophie Hahn (100m T38) set world records.[221]

Anniversary Games

At the Paralympic event Alan Oliveira and Richard Browne set World Records for the men's T43 and T44 100 metres. David Weir recorded a time of 3 minutes and 16.40 seconds to set a new world record for the men's T54 mile.[211] While in the T53 men's 100 metres Brent Lakatos set a world record with a time of 14.34 seconds.[212]

In the Grand Prix, Yarisley Silva and Renaud Lavillenie both set Diamond League records for the Pole vault with the Frenchman setting a National record as well.[209][210] Zuzana Hejnova set a new Czech Republic record in the Women's 400 metres hurdles setting a time of 53.07 seconds.[209] In the women's 100 metres Blessing Okagbare twice broke the African Record.[210]

Charles Sale reported in the Daily Mail during December 2012 that the London Athletics Grand Prix could be switched from Crystal Palace and hosted on the anniversary of the Olympics, though sound systems and scoreboards would have to be reintegrated into the stadium.[204] On 24 January, it was confirmed that the Grand Prix would be switched to the stadium.[205] In February 2013, it was announced that after the Diamond League event the stadium would hold a Paralympic athletics event on 28 July.[206] In April Sainsbury's were announced as sponsors of the Anniversary Games.[207][208]

David Weir broke the World Record in the men's T54 mile.
2013 Anniversary Games


On 31 October 2012, it was revealed that Boris Johnson had held exploratory talks with the National Football League about holding games, however the venue cannot play host to any matches before 2017 due to Wembley Stadium having exclusive rights.[202][203] Dennis Hone, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, thought that American Football would work well with the track.[174]

American football


Following the demolition of the 2012 warm up track and to comply with IAAF rules requiring a warm up track at Construction Category 1 facilities a new 6 lane community track will be created immediately adjacent to the south of the Olympic Stadium. The track will be home to Newham and Essex Beagles Athletic Club and will be open for around 250 days of the year.[198][199][200] The construction of the track was funded by a grant from the London Marathon Trust.[201]

Community track

Work commenced on 13 August 2013 with the removal of 25,000 seats and the grass from the field of play.[189][190] The athletics track was covered with a 75 cm layer of recycled concrete to protect it during the heavy lifting.[191] In November 2013 work commenced to remove the fourteen floodlight panels as part of the £200m conversion of the stadium.[192] At the end of October 2014 a van caught fire inside the stadium with London Fire Brigade attending.[193] At the end of November building work was on track to be completed in time for the 2015 summer events, and the first insulating roof panel was put in place.[194][195] In March 2015 work began on installing the new floodlights. Each floodlight panel is 18 metres tall and weighs 45 tonnes and will sit 30 metres above the stadium's floor, suspended from the roof rather than sitting on top, in total there are 14 panels. As the floodlight work began, work on a steel halo structure that encircles the stadium, containing 96 turnstiles, catering and toilet facilities, concluded.[196] In the early hours of Sunday 28 June 2015, a construction worker was found dead after an apparent fall from the stadium roof; the Metropolitan Police treated the death as non-suspicious, and the Health and Safety Executive concluded that it was not work-related.[197]

were contracted to construct the new roof for £41 million while Careys PLC who will carry out some ground work for Balfour Beatty were awarded a £1.5 million tender. Imtech G&H were awarded a £25 million contract to carry out electrical and plumbing work.[181][182] In January 2014 Balfour Beatty were awarded a £154 million tender, which includes the earlier contract for the roof, to complete the stadium's transformation works.[183][184][185] Paul Kelso, working for Sky News, discovered in September 2014 that the cost of the conversion of the stadium may rise by £15 million, due to additional work to strengthen the structure, to allow it to support the new roof.[186] It was revealed neither West Ham United nor the taxpayer would have to meet the additional cost as Balfour Beatty would contribute with the remainder funded from the existing LLDC transformation budget of the Olympic Park.[187] In October 2014, the LLDC contributed a further £35.9 million towards the project with the funding coming from reserves and income generated by other means.[188]

Balfour Beatty
The Olympic Stadium during its renovation minus a roof and floodlights and a crane visible.

Following the granting, in March 2013, of a 99-year tenancy to Newham Council were specifically set-up to oversee redevelopment of the stadium. The venue will be transformed into a UEFA Category 4 venue seating 54,000 spectators. The reconfiguration will see work on a new roof, corporate areas, toilets, concessions and retractable seating. West Ham will contribute £15 million and Newham Council £40 million for the work to be carried out with the LLDC and the British Government making up the rest.[175] E20 LLP were, in May 2013, granted planning permission to start the conversion of the Olympic Stadium. Approval was granted for the installation of retractable seating on all sides of the stadium and an 84.0 m (91.9 yd) transparent roof that will become the largest-spanning tensile roof in the world. [176][177] The new metal lower tier will sit over the retained upper rows of the old lower tier and will be moved into position by hand,[178] despite initial plans to use a motorised system.[179][180]

On 15 October, it was revealed that Boris Johnson and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) were considering installing retractable seating. Adding the seats would delay the stadium's opening until 2015. Following discussions, temporary seating was considered only a short-term option, as the stadium would be taken out for a month during the summer whilst they were erected and dismantled. This led to the stadium possibly rejecting football and surviving on subsides. If it went ahead, the plan would see the lower tier of the stadium rebuilt, which was estimated to cost between £160 and 200 million.[173] Dennis Hone, chief executive of the LLDC, revealed in November 2012 that the stadium would not meet its reopening deadline of 2014. Instead the stadium would reopen in August 2015 with the stadium retaining a capacity of around 50,000 for athletics.[174]

Following the conclusion of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the cost of converting the stadium had risen from £95 million to £130 million. By 20 September 2012, the famous pixels had already been removed as they were only on loan from Crystal; however according to Paul Kelso, of the The Daily Telegraph, "reinstating the system would help establish the Olympic Stadium as a concert venue in competition with Wembley and Twickenham Stadiums." Kelso also learnt that the triangular floodlights could be removed when the new roof is fitted as the cost of keeping them is too great. However West Ham want to keep the lights as they would like to keep the stadium looking as it did during the Games, and may consider keeping the wrap on the outside.[172]


The naming rights to the stadium are being sold by the London Legacy Development Corporation, who were expected to announce a deal at the end of 2014. However, due to a delay in February 2015 it was revealed that no announcement would be made before the Rugby World Cup and would not take effect until 2016.[171]

Stadium naming rights

In October 2014 The Evening Standard reported that French company Vinci SA were favourites to be given a contract to run the stadium for ten years. The company which all ready operates several other stadiums, including the Parc des Princes in Paris, had reportedly beaten of competition from other companies including Anschutz Entertainment Group who run the O2.[166] In February 2015, Vinci Stadium, a subsidiary of Vinci Concessions, were appointed to manage the stadium starting in April 2015 for a 25-year period. The company will also be responsible for the London Marathon Charitable Trust Community Track and events on the south park lawn. This is the first stadium outside of France to be managed by Vinci.[167][168][169][170]

Stadium operator

Supporters of various rival clubs pressed for an inquiry into the LLDC's granting of West Ham's tenancy, arguing that West Ham were being given an unfair advantage by the arrangement. However, in September 2015 the government rejected holding such an inquiry.[164] In October 2015, the LLDC released a 207-page document with redacted sections. West Ham's annual rent was not revealed as this was seen to be commercially sensitive information.[165]

On 6 March, Barry Hearn stated that he would mount another legal challenge as he believed that the rules set out be the LLDC had not been followed. Hearn also said that he felt that Leyton Orient's proposed ground share had been ignored and not properly explored.[147][148][149] Hearn promised to end his legal battle if he was not successful in securing a review.[150][151] In April 2013, he was informed that his call for a judicial review had been rejected and performed a u-turn on his previous comments vowing to fight "from our own back garden" by suing the Premier League and taking the LLDC to the European Court of Justice if he was not successful with the next step. Dennis Hone, Chief executive of the LLDC, stated that he would have to look at the groundshare issue if Hearn was successful in gaining the review.[152][153] An oral application was submitted in June 2013.[154] On 19 September 2013, Leyton Orient lost their bid to win a judicial review into the decision to grant West Ham the tenancy of the Olympic Stadium. At the High Court, Mr Justice Lewis said the LLDC was entitled to make the decision which was not "irrational".[155] In November 2013 it was the House of Lords' opinion that Leyton Orient should be allowed occasional use of the stadium, with Lord Harris telling Orient and West Ham to "stop squabbling like children."[156][157][158] Dennis Hone stated that he was in talks with Barry Hearn over occasional usage, but that it would not mean a permanent groundshare.[159] In early December, the LLDC said that there was nothing to stop Orient from negotiating a rental agreement with whichever firm ends up running the stadium. Orient, however, would not be able to negotiate a 99-year deal like West Ham and would only have usage of the stadium when the Hammers are not playing.[160][161] On 1 July 2014, Leyton Orient brought an end to their dispute with the Premier League regarding the future use of the stadium, after a confidential agreement between the two parties was reached.[162][163]

In December 2012, West Ham were named as the preferred bidder for the stadium with a separate operator co-ordinating community and sporting use, as well as concerts and events.[134] Leyton Orient's bid was rejected due to its commercial viability and the bid from Intelligent Transport Services, in conjunction with Formula One, was rejected for having too much speculation and uncertainty in their business plan.[135] However, with so much public money going into the stadium and its redevelopment, the BBC learned that David Gold and David Sullivan must share any profits they make if they sell the club.[136][137] West Ham were given three months to improve the terms of their deal or lose the stadium; with Johnson going with plan B without football.[135] The two parties seemed to find common ground in February 2013, with West Ham, reportedly, agreeing to paying £2.5 million in rent per year. They additionally promised to pay back any extra cost for the roof and seats within ten years.[138][139] Gold stated at the beginning of March that a deal could be complete by the middle of the month.[140] On 22 March 2013, West Ham United secured a 99-year lease deal, with the stadium planned to be used as their home ground from the 2016–2017 season.[141] A BBC documentary in 2015 reported that West Ham would have items such as the maintenance of the pitch and the prevision of security, goals and corner flags paid by the tax payer.[142][143] West Ham, as tenants, have access to the ground for only 25 days per year.[144] In July 2013, UK Athletics received a 50-year deal for the use of the stadium.[145] UK Athletics will have access to the stadium every year from the last Friday in June until the end of July.[146]

On 5 April 2012, Barry Hearn, chairman of Leyton Orient, called for the West Ham bid to be disqualified for not having the permission of the Football League.[130] However, on 30 May, Hearn said that he would consider a groundshare with West Ham as he agreed with the covering of the track and would now talk with the authorities.[131] In June 2012, West Ham stated that despite Hearn saying that he would consider a groundshare, they would not consider this with Leyton Orient. The club also added that no talks had taken place.[132] However, Hearn in July reiterated the idea claiming that it would be ideal. He also added that it did not matter what West Ham thought as it was up to the "Olympic people" to decide as he was applying for tenancy.[133]


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