The Athens Olympic Stadium closes due to the instability of Santiago Calatrava’s roof

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The Athens Olympic Stadium, the site of the 2004 Olympic Games, will remain closed until further notice because An inspection has detected structural deficiencies in its roof, designed by Santiago Calatrava. Panathinaikos, the soccer team that uses the stadium in European competitions, had a match scheduled in two weeks that will have to be relocated.

The venue, with capacity for almost 70,000 spectators, is the largest in Greece. This year, the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA), the public company that manages the stadium, planned to carry out its first significant renovation since the Games with an initial budget of 56.3 million euros. In this context, the company has detected the failures of the cover. The Athens Olympic Velodrome, used for track cycling at Athens 2004, has also closed for similar reasons.

Those responsible for the stadium have announced that they will carry out a second inspection to further investigate the problem. Both the Greek Government, led by the conservative Kyriakos Mitsotakis and re-elected last July, and the Syriza opposition have reproached each other for the lack of maintenance of the stadium. For its part, the Hellenic Olympic Committee (EOE) stated that the OAKA must remain “the heart of Greek sports” and called for security issues to be resolved quickly.

The Olympic Stadium first opened its doors in 1982 named after Spyros Louis, the first winner of the marathon competition at an Olympic Games in the modern era. The stadium, then still without a roof, arrived in time to host the European Athletics Championships. In 1991 it hosted the Mediterranean Games, in 1997 it hosted the World Athletics Championships and in 1994 and 2007 it hosted the Champions League final. In 2018, UEFA already asked about the security of the stadium after A video shows its cover swinging during a Champions League match between AEK Athens and Bayern Munich. Then, those responsible for the stadium explained that this movement was normal.

In Santiago Calatrava’s career there is a history of news comparable to that of Athens: Valencia, Oviedo… The most relevant case is that of Venice. The bridge over the Grand Canal of Calatrava required numerous structural rethinking due to its instability, when it was already under construction. The delay in the project caused that budget to be multiplied by three

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