London unveils plans for Olympic challenge

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The Independent Online

The showpiece of the London Bid for the 2012 Olympics, an 80,000-seat stadium in east London, was unveiled yesterday.

The showpiece of the London Bid for the 2012 Olympics, an 80,000-seat stadium in east London, was unveiled yesterday.

The futuristic arena would stage athletics and the opening and closing ceremonies, should the capital win the right to stage the Games. However, unlike the City of Manchester Stadium, which was used for the Commonwealth Games and then passed on to the footballers of Manchester City, the Olympic stadium would be a dismountable affair, downsized to become the home of British athletics.

Pre-fabricated sections of upper-tier seating would be removed and the roof lowered, leaving a 30,000-seat arena. The roof sections are said to echo the flexed muscles of top-level athletes, and can close at the whim of the British weather.

The £300m project is the focus of the Bid, plans for which include on a 500-acre site a velodrome, multi-sport halls, aquatic and hockey centres, and an Olympic village to accommodate 18,000 competitors and officials.

The Bid will be studied by the International Olympic Association in a week's time, along with those of the other short-listed cities - Paris, Madrid, Moscow and New York. The French are favourites to stage the Games, with London, who last hosted the world's premier sports event in 1948, a close second.

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