Athletes grace London’s Olympic Stadium for the first time
London’s Olympic Stadium has welcomed competitive sport for the first time, as the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Athletics Championships were held at the Olympic venue from 4-7 May.
The very first winner within the stadium, which lies in the heart of the Olympic Park in east London, was Loughborough University’s Justine Kinney, who won the first heat of the first event – the women’s 400m hurdles – on Friday.
"The track feels amazing,” said the Irish athlete. "It feels like you could fly down it, it feels wonderful. I'm so privileged to run here, I've been looking forward to this so much.”
The event marked the first time that the stadium had been opened to the public for an athletics competition, with approximately 40,000 people attending the venue’s official opening on Saturday evening. The event gave the London 2012 Organising Committee the chance to test key aspects of it’s operations ahead of this year’s Games, with athletes going through exactly the same kind of procedures that the likes of Usain Bolt will do later this year.
"This event is very important to us for a number of reasons," said LOCOG Chairman Seb Coe.
"Seeing athletes on the track for the first time will be a special moment for me personally and then welcoming 40,000 people into the Stadium on Saturday night will be a major milestone.
"This crowd will not only be starting their Olympic journey just weeks ahead of the Games, they will also play a vital role in helping us test the venue and earn our licence to operate the Stadium.
"I am very proud of this venue and excited that it is set to stage the biggest sporting event in the world."