Iconic moment as Olympic stadium lights are switched on

PRIME Minister David Cameron and local schoolchildren yesterday visited the Olympic Stadium to officially turn on the flagship venue’s floodlights for the first time, a major milestone for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic project.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, London Organising Committee Chair Seb Coe, Olympic Delivery Authority Chairman John Armitt and an audience made up of members of the Olympic Park workforce, local community and schoolchildren, were present to watch the Stadium light up.

To ensure that the sporting action is illuminated and to meet high definition TV standards, the Stadium is lit by 532 individual floodlights housed in 14 towers suspended 70 metres above the field of play. The ODA has also announced that the installation of the spectator seats has completed in the Stadium, ensuring that the venue remains on track to be completed more than a year before the Games in the summer of 2012.

Mr Cameron said: “It’s a real honour to turn on the Olympic floodlights for the first time. We are shining a light on this Stadium and the brilliant work that’s been done on the Olympic Park so far. In 2012 a light will shine on all of our country as billions look on. I want the world to see that Britain is a confident, forward-looking country - a great place to live, work, invest and do business. I want to see huge spin-off benefits as people come and see our culture, heritage, great cities, countryside and our dynamism - and decide they want to come back again.”

“Beyond 2012 we want to ensure these Games deliver a strong legacy - not just regenerating this part of east London, but boosting our national economy and inspiring a new generation to get active and get into sport.

“Seeing the Stadium lit up today is incredibly exciting and I can’t wait for the Games to begin”.

ODA Chairman John Armitt said: “Officially turning on the Olympic Stadium floodlights for the first time is a powerful symbol of the strong progress that has been made on the Olympic Park and a fitting way to conclude 2010. The lit-up Stadium will be seen for miles and is evidence of how the rapid transformation of the Olympic Park site has changed the skyline of London.”

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Seb Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, said: “In the summer of 2012, the world’s best athletes will be competing for the world’s biggest prize in this wonderful stadium. The excitement we all feel today at hitting yet another milestone on the road to 2012 is a taste of things to come, as we seek to inspire the next generation of young people to choose sport, and invite the world to be part of London 2012.”

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “In 2012, the world’s spotlight will be shining on London as we host one of the greatest sporting spectaculars the capital has ever seen. It is a thrill to see that epitomised by these impressive floodlights, which help beam the Games into living rooms across the globe in high definition.