Roof begins to go up on London Olympic stadium

Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:25pm EST
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By Avril Ormsby

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The roof of the main 2012 Olympic stadium began going up this week -- a symbolic stage in Britain's preparations for the Games -- but doubts remain over a long-term tenant.

The first 30-meter steel section was lifted into place on the showpiece 500-million pound ($715.4 million) stadium, taking its height to almost 37 meters(120 ft) above podium level.

The roof should be finished in nine months' time and the entire stadium by the Summer of 2011.

"The construction of the roof starts to give a real indication of the height of the structure," said John Armitt, chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), responsible for building the venues.

"People can start to see for themselves how the Olympic Stadium will look during the Games."

The stadium will host track and field events as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.

But concern remains about its legacy after leading football clubs ruled out moving in because of its size and the retention of the athletics track around the pitch.

The stadium's 80,000-seating capacity will be reduced to 25,000 after the Games -- too few for a Premier League football club -- and fans do not like being so far from the field of action.   Continued...

<p>This computer-generated image released by The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) in London shows the design for the Olympic Stadium, the flagship venue for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, November 7, 2007. REUTERS/Olympic Delivery Authority/Handout</p>