March 14 - More than 40,000 people are to be given the opportunity to be at the Olympic Stadium in London for its first major event, an occasion that is set to be marked by an evening of entertainment and which will give one person to be chosen from the crowd the chance to officially declare it open.
London 2012 have announced that tickets will go on sale tomorrow for the unique event on May 5 priced at £20 ($31/€24) and £10 ($16/€12) for those eligible for concessions.
The special ticketed event called "2012 Hours to Go: An Evening of Athletics and Entertainment", will follow on from the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Visa Outdoor Athletics Championships taking place in the Stadium on the same day.
As members of the public arrive at the Stadium at 7.00pm, they will watch the final hour of the Championships' evening session where competitors will join the ranks of previous BUCS champions including Perri Shakes-Drayton, Dai Greene and Hannah England (pictured below running in Olympic Stadium with London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe).
The evening session will also include a series of UK Athletics Invitational events featuring some of Britain's best athletes who will be aiming for a place in Team GB this summer.
After the athletics has finished, a celebrity host will be joined by famous faces including Olympians and Paralympians for a series of stunts, games, challenges and prizes.
The 40,000 strong-audience will be narrowed down to one lucky winner who will be brought into the middle of the Stadium to officially open the venue.
Information on the host, celebrities, schedule and prizes for the evening will be released in the coming weeks.
"This is a great opportunity for people to experience the venue that will take centre stage this summer," said Coe.
As well as a great evening of entertainment, this will be an invaluable test and another warm-up event for the Olympic Stadium."
The Stadium will be used for the first time the day before when the opening day of the BUCS Championships will begin.
Apart from the special event, tickets for the four-days Championships, which is due to last until the following Monday (May 7), are only available to members of BUCS and a limited number will be available.
London 2012 are planning to make 2,200 available for May 4, 6 and 7 and 6,000 on May 5, in addition to the 40,000 allowed in later.
As is normal for the opening of major new stadiums, officials have to build up gradually before they can fill the arena to capacity so that health and safety checks can be carried out.
Tickets to several other 2012 test events are due to go on sale tomorrow at 10.00am.
A total of 142,000 tickets priced from £3 ($5/€4) to £20 ($31/€24) will be available for synchronised swimming, hockey, wheelchair tennis, water polo and Paralympic athletics.
Synchronised swimming, taking place in the Aquatics Centre (pictured) from April 18 until 22, will see Britain compete alongside world-class teams including Russia, the current Olympic and world champions.
From May 2 to 6, some of the world's best men's and women's hockey teams including Australia, the world's top ranked men's team, Argentina, the current women's world champions, and both Britain's men's and women's teams, will play a crucial part in testing the Riverbank Arena.
In the Water Polo Arena, from May 3 to 6, the Britain women's team will line up alongside teams from Australia, United States and Russia.
At the same time, 40 wheelchair tennis players from around the world will take part in the first competitive tournament at Eton Manor in the Olympic Park.
On Tuesday May 8 more than 200 Paralympic athletes from 50 nations will battle it out in track and field events in the Olympic Stadium.
'We are now in the home straight and having staged 31 successful test events we are in a good position as we head towards the Games themselves," said Debbie Jevans, the London 2012 director of sport.
"As with all our test events we will be testing a range of our operations including field of play and also our workforce.
"During our programme of six events in the Olympic Park over a seven-day period we will also be able to focus on our overall Park operations outside the sport venues and this will be invaluable."
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