Olympics: London's 80,000-seater arena to win games

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The Independent Online

London's battle to win the 2012 Olympic Games moves up a gear today with the first images released of the proposed 80,000-seater super stadium and Olympic Village designed to win the votes of the International Olympic Committee.

London's battle to win the 2012 Olympic Games moves up a gear today with the first images released of the proposed 80,000-seater super stadium and Olympic Village designed to win the votes of the International Olympic Committee.

More details will be released later this week before the full-scale plans, contained in a 600-page candidate file, are presented to the IOC in Lausanne on 15 November, alongside those of rival cities Paris, the current favourites, Madrid, New York and Moscow. The final choice is to be made in Singapore next July.

The preview of what the stadium will look like from the inside shows a state-of-the-art, lattice-like roof providing cover for 80,000 spectators. It will be built in Stratford only if the bid is successful and later downsized to become a permanent 20,000-capacity athletics venue that, it is hoped, will bury the spectre of Pickett's Lock, the disastrous project to host next year's world athletics championship. That stadium was never built and the games are being hosted in Helsinki.

Lord Coe, the chairman of London 2012, said last night that he believes the London games plan will impress the IOC as having the best purpose-built facilities in the world.

"What is unique about this plan is the imaginative use of old and new. We have the existing and iconic in Lord's, Wimbledon, Hyde Park and Horse Guards Parade. We also have cutting-edge, new-generation sports venues in the Olympic Park that will be totally environmentally friendly." London's is the only bid that has a dedicated Olympic Park. And the former Olympic decathlon champion Daley Thompson, who saw the plans for the east London complex last week, claims it will have the best facilities for athletes of any Olympics or Paralympics.

"But also, once the Games are over, the legacy will be there for everybody in the community," he said.

The cost of the proposed stadium, the plans for which are being drawn up jointly by Foreign Office Architects and HOK (designers of the Sydney Olympic Stadium), has not yet been disclosed but it is projected to be considerably less than Wembley's £757m.

Because of the IOC's keenness on compactness, London 2012 has moved more sports into the hub for the bid. Shooting is now scheduled for Woolwich Arsenal instead of Bisley and fencing moves to the Olympic Park itself from Alexandra Palace.

There will also be shared venues for wrestling and judo, and table-tennis and taekwondo, which means one less sports hall needs to be built. However there will be five indoor venues that would be bequeathed to sport, including the city's only Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Once the "bid book" is received and digested by the members of the IOC, promotion of the respective bids can begin in earnest. "It means the gloves are off," said a bid source.

They need to be, for Paris's campaign has received a massive boost with the French government's announcement that it is to give €2.5bn to help finance it.

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