Top British athletes witnessed the unveiling of the track in the Olympic Stadium today as London 2012 celebrated another milestone on the Olympic Park.
World record holder and Paralympic gold medallist Dan Greaves, British Long Jump record holder Chris Tomlinson and IAAF World Championships silver medallist Hannah England were the first athletes to take to the track.
Tomlinson, and Hannah England with local school children from West Ham Church Primary School in Newham
who will benefit from the Stadium's legacy plans to be a venue for sport, athletics, community and cultural events.
The Mondo track, which was laid during August, will provide a fast surface for Olympic and Paralympic athletes during competition in 2012. The same surface has been laid for the 80m sprint straight under one of the main stands and a 400m training track near the stadium will be laid shortly.
Seb Coe, LOCOG Chairman, said: 'Today marks a huge milestone for the project, as the Olympic Stadium starts to come to life and people get a glimpse of how it will look in less then ten months time when we welcome the world's athletes to London. Although there is still a lot of work to do on the Stadium, seeing some of our top British athletes on the track with local school children really underlines the Stadium’s potential for 2012 and beyond.'
Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson said: 'This is another piece in the jigsaw for our Olympic Stadium. I am sure that we will see some world records tumble on this track next year and some inspiring performances from the world’s best athletes. What a great legacy it would be for the Stadium too if the IAAF select London as the host city for the 2017 World Athletics Championships.'
John Armitt, ODA Chairman said: 'Watching athletes and children run around the Olympic Stadium’s track ten months before the London 2012 Games highlights just how much has been achieved over the last four years. The Olympic Stadium will be a stunning centre piece of the Games and a fitting theatre for sporting action and the ceremonies.'
2008 Paralympic Discus gold medallist Greaves, who broke the world record and won gold at the IPC World Championships in January, said: 'It’s so great to be a part of this track launch today, thinking about coming back here next summer to compete for a Paralympic medal sends shivers down my spine.'
Rod Sheard, Senior Principal at Populous, the Stadium architect, said: 'With the installation of the track, the stadium bowl is another huge step closer to being ready to hold an event. In 2012, billions of viewers will celebrate the joy and excitement in what is a stage designed to achieve the best performance in sport.'
Maurizio Stroppiana, General executive manager of Mondo said: 'The first time we took part in an Olympic Games was Montreal in 1976. However, the emotion in seeing our beautiful track laid down in the stadium for another Olympic Games is stronger and stronger every time.'
Earlier in the day the IAAF commission visited the Stadium visited the Stadium as part of the London bid to host the 2017 World Championships.
Track facts and figures
• The track will be covered again to protect it while the Stadium continues its overlay installation
• Track is made by Mondo using a ‘Sport FLEX system’
• it is approx 13.5mm in depth making it one of the fastest surfaces
• it is a prefabricated material manufactured in Italy by Mondo
• the track is certificated to ensure it reaches the Level 1 classification for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
• An 80m sprint straight identical to the full competition track has also been laid under one of the main stands, as well as an identical 400m warm-up track which is the other side of the Greenway and will be linked to Stadium via a new temporary bridge
Olympic Stadium facts and figures
• 80,000 capacity in Games mode and designed to be flexible enough to accommodate a number of different legacy requirements and capacities in legacy
• The Stadium is visible across the Park from all approaches and will be the centre piece for the 2012 Games.
• Construction started in May 2008 and completed in just under three years.
• The total Stadium island site covers an area of 40 acres - it is compact and surrounded by water on three sides.
• Five major new bridges will lead spectators into the site, provide spectacular views across the Park and London
• The shape of the Stadium is an ellipse with a long axis of 315m and a short axis of 256m. It stands at 60m in height above the field of play and the perimeter is 860m
• 33 buildings on the Olympic Stadium site had been demolished and over 800,000 tonnes of soil was taken away before construction could begin - enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall nine times over
• The Stadium will contain around 10,000 tonnes of steel - it will be the lightest Olympic Stadium to date
• The cable net roof provides the correct conditions for athletes on the field of play and covering two-thirds of spectators. The roof is covered by 112 panels of white material, totalling 25,000 m². The fabric was fitted by a team of 23 expert abseilers.
• To ensure that the sporting action is illuminated and to meet high definition TV standards, the Stadium is lit by 532 individual floodlights housed in 14 towers. The top of the towers reach 70m above the field of play.
• Each of the 14 lighting tower weighs 34 tonnes and are 28m high. They were lifted into place by a 650 tonne crane over a period of 14 days in March 2010.
• There are around 700 rooms and spaces within the Stadium, including changing rooms and toilets. The turf for the field of play was grown in Scunthorpe and was laid over a period of three days in March 2011.
• The black and white spectator seats were designed in the UK and manufactured in a factory in Luton. They were fitted between May and December 2010.
• The toilets for spectators are spread out across 32 separate buildings on the podium level and are all now functional.