Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reflections on London's Olympic Stadium Status

Scanning NYTimes.com this afternoon, I spotted a fresh article datelined London, noting the ups and downs faced to find new use for the 2012 Olympic Stadium. The article is good, in that it was an informative update as to the status and next steps for the venue, and comments are flowing in to their site, including one posted by this blogger.

My issue with this article is the multimedia photo gallery that accompanies the online text. Though I concur that many Olympic venues became white elephants after their glory days, today's article/slideshow left out a few success stories while also noticeably deleting iconic venues of late. While Beijing's Water Cube gets some clicks, where is the Bird's Nest? And what of the Atlanta success converting the 1996 Olympic stadium into MLB's Turner Field?

I also wondered why select Olympic stadiums -- such as Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Munich Olympic Stadium and Barcelona's venue, each with decades of non-Olympic use under their belts -- got omitted while the usual suspects Montreal and Athens got billing as Olympic boondoggles.

Though the London update was in order, it seemed a bit early to be crying or labeling things a failure; London staged a most successful Games, and there should be no doubt their success will continue in a post-Games afterglow, which I think is warranted for more than six months (let's give it, say, a year before tearing out finger nails and then pointing bloody fingers).

One of my favorite Olympic stadiums is Munich. Now home to rock concerts, sports and special events, and a zip line attraction, I love this centerpiece of Olympiapark. Here's hoping Germany again enters the Winter Olympic race with a Munich-centric future Olympic bid (sadly they lost for 2018). The LA Memorial Coliseum also remains a favorite.

I am optimistic London will find an appropriate tenant and use for the 2012 stadium, as will Rio de Janiero and other future host cities.

Photo by Nicholas Wolaver

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