London: The floodlights were switched on for
the first time in the snow-covered 2012 London Olympics
stadium on Monday -- although the bulbs on the triangular
pylons took time to warm up in the freezing weather.
Prime Minister David Cameron, assisted by local
schoolchildren, flicked the switch to light up the
near-completed stadium in Stratford, east London, which will
host the opening ceremony in just over a year and seven
After a slow start, the floodlights slowly increased in
The Olympic park, housing most of the key venues for the
Games, has been built in a once rundown area of the capital
and as well as the sports venues will include a huge shopping
complex, schools and health centres.
London Mayor Boris Johnson told hundreds of spectators:
"This Olympics isn`t just about building fantastic venues in
east London, it`s about regenerating parts of our city that
have been neglected for hundreds of years."
Given the conditions, Johnson joked that London could bid
to host the Winter Olympics after England`s bid to stage host
the 2018 football World Cup was thwarted.
The 80,000-capacity stadium`s role after the Olympics
remains in question.
London football clubs West Ham and Tottenham have applied
to move into the venue, which has been designed so it can be
reduced in size to a capacity of as little as 25,000.
However, the chairman of the London organising committee,
former gold medal-winning Olympic athlete Sebastian Coe,
insists the stadium must retain an athletics track after the