Given everything else going on in the world it was never likely to feature widely in the world’s press. But quietly, quietly, Britain’s Olympic build proceeds. Today the last piece of turf was laid on the London Olympic Stadium’s field of play, marking the completion of construction on the flagship venue.
It has been a remarkable journey. Construction started on the Olympic Stadium just under three years ago and has been completed on time, under budget and with an exemplary safety record. That’s already quite a lot to get excited about. And if you happened to be part of one of the 240 UK businesses that have won contracts for the construction of the Stadium or the 5,250 people that have worked on the project over the past 3 years you’ll also have had plenty to cheer about.
And talking of cheering, the Stadium will have an 80,000 capacity in Games mode, which should guarantee quite a crescendo of sound when the 100m sprint bursts to life. But it will also have a life beyond The Bolt. The Stadium will become a football ground – as Hammers fans know – and the parkland surrounding it – the Stadium island site covers an area of 40 acres and is surrounded by water on three sides – will become a haven of green and grace in East London. All of that is quite a transformation; 33 buildings on the Olympic Stadium site had to be demolished and over 800,000 tonnes of soil taken away before construction could begin – enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall nine times over. Which would have prevented any cheering there.
So while we’re cheering, here’s one for the builders and two for the company in Scunthorpe that grew the grass and cut it into 360 rolls of turf. A coup de grass?