London 2012 Olympic Stadium lights turned on for first time
Monday, 20 December 2010
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
December 20 - The lights have tonight been turned on for the first time at London's 2012 Olympic Stadium by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Cameron pushed a button that switched on the towering floodlights over the snow-covered Stadium in East London.
London Mayor Boris Johnson, London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe and dozens of local schoolchildren were among those attending the ceremony in sub-freezing temperatures inside the mostly empty 80,000-capacity stadium.
"It's a real honour to turn on the Olympic floodlights for the first time," said Cameron.
"Today we're shining a light on this Stadium and the brilliant work that's been done on the Olympic Park so far.
"In 2012 a light will shine on all of our country as billions look on.
"I want the world to see that Britain is a confident, forward-looking country - a great place to live, work, invest and do business.
"I want to see huge spin-off benefits as people come and see our culture, heritage, great cities, countryside and our dynamism - and decide they want to come back again.
"Beyond 2012 we want to ensure these Games deliver a strong legacy - not just regenerating this part of East London, but boosting our national economy and inspiring a new generation to get active and get into sport.
"Seeing the Stadium lit up today is incredibly exciting and I can't wait for the Games to begin".
The stadium, which is due to be completed next year, has 14 light towers reaching 70 meters (230 feet) above the field of play, supporting a total of 532 individual lights to ensure that the sporting action is illuminated and to meet high definition TV standards.
Johnson praised the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), saying the lights had been switched on 18 months before they were "strictly needed".
"This is a quite wonderful and historic evening and I'm so full of confidence when I look at what the ODA has achieved," he said.
The ODA announced tonight that the installation of the spectator seats has completed in the Stadium, ensuring that the venue remains on track to be completed more than a year before the Games in the summer of 2012.
"Officially turning on the Olympic Stadium floodlights for the first time is a powerful symbol of the strong progress that has been made on the Olympic Park and a fitting way to conclude 2010," said John Armitt, the chairman of the ODA.
"The lit-up Stadium will be seen for miles and is evidence of how the rapid transformation of the Olympic Park site has changed the skyline of London.
"We are not complacent, but we have finished this year in a strong position and are ready to face the challenges of 2011."
It was another important milestone for Team Stadium Consortium, who are building the Stadium and include Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, Populous, Buro Happold, HED and Savills Hepher Dixon.
"In the summer of 2012, the world's best athletes will be competing for the world's biggest prize in this wonderful Stadium," said Coe.
"The excitement we all feel today at hitting yet another milestone on the road to 2012 is a taste of things to come, as we seek to inspire the next generation of young people to choose sport, and invite the world to be part of London 2012."
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