Floodlights go on in snowbound London stadium



Floodlights go on in snowbound London stadium 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 months' time.

After a slow start, the floodlights slowly increased in brightness.

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 Games.

Bureau Report