By Duncan Mackay

London_2012_Olympic_Stadium_with_wrap_August_4_2011August 4 - Dow Chemical is to sponsor the £7 million ($11 million/€8 million) wrap around the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, it was announced today.

Worldwide Olympic partner Dow will produce a sustainable, fabric wrap that will encircle the Stadium during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The wrap will comprise of 336 individual panels – each approximately 25 metres high and 2.5 metres wide and will help the stadium become the visual centre piece of the Olympic Park at Games-time, officials hope.

The installation is due to be completed by spring 2012.

"The Stadium will look spectacular at Games time and having the wrap is the icing on the cake," said Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012.

"I'm delighted that Dow as one of the newer worldwide partners of the Olympic Movement will be providing it and importantly doing it in a sustainable way.

"It reflects our vision and is a real statement of intent from Dow about their commitment to the Games."

The Government and Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) had originally shelved plans for the wrap design last October after they were told to find £20 million ($32 million/€23 million) of savings in the Comprehensive Spending Review.

The decision to scrap plans for a wrap was criticised by a number of high-profile individuals including one of the senior architects behind the stadium, Rod Sheard, who said the limited cost benefits would be outweighed by the diminishing of the Stadium's image and wind protection.

But several companies had come forward to express an interest in sponsoring the wrap, even though no branding will be allowed to be displayed on it during the period of the Olympics.

Dow will, however, be allowed some branding in the build-up to the Olympics, including the test event at the Stadium next May.

The wrap, which will include resins made by Dow's Performance Plastics Division and will require fewer raw materials to manufacture, will be reccyled after the Games.

It will be up to 35 per cent lighter and have a lower carbon footprint when compared to conventional materials, London 2012 claim.

Other sustainable elements of the wrap include UV-curable inks replacing conventional inks to reduce emissions during the printing process and eliminate volatile organic compounds (VOC).

The wrap will include post-industrial recycled content and the hardware used to hang the wrap will be recycled in Europe following the Games.

"Our goal is to provide solutions that help make the Olympic Games more sustainable, safer and that will help improve performance," said George Hamilton, vice-president of Dow Olympic Operations.

"We're providing this wrap as a sustainable solution for the Games and we look forward to celebrating its completion with Olympic fans around the world.

"We're proud that the wrap will have a lasting and sustainable legacy, and one that will improve quality of life long after the Closing Ceremonies."

Hugh Robertson, the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, was delighted that Dow, a worldwide Olympic sponsor since last July, had come in to fill the void caused by the Government cuts.

"At the Comprehensive Spending Review last autumn, the Government could see the benefit of the wrap but did not feel the taxpayer should pay for it as we looked to make savings across the project," he said.

"But I am delighted that a private sector company has taken up the opportunity which will become a major feature of the Olympic Stadium."

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