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Olympic Park Stadium is a multi-purpose outdoor stadium located on Olympic Boulevard in inner Melbournemarker. The stadium was built as an athletics training venue for the 1956 Olympics, a short distance from the MCGmarker, which served as the Olympic Stadium. The stadium currently plays host to athletics, having previously been the home of rugby league side, Melbourne Storm.

On 4 March 2008, it was reported that Australian Rules Football club president Eddie McGuire was attempting to take over the stadium and use the facilities as a training ground for his Collingwood team.

Olympic Park Stadium is located in Olympic Parkmarker, which is part of the Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinctmarker.

Current Usage

The stadium is one of the largest in Victoria primarily suited to rectangular configuration, making it ideal for hosting rugby league, rugby union, football and gridiron. The larger Etihad Stadiummarker and Melbourne Cricket Groundmarker also support rectangular configuration, but with less ideal viewing conditions. A larger 31,000 seat Melbourne Rectangular Stadiummarker is under construction adjacent to Olympic Park Stadium and is due for completion in 2009.

The stadium has lighting suited for night matches. The stadium has a top class athletics track that was refurbished in 1997, with the stadium last being redeveloped in 1998.

Until 2009, the stadium was home of the (NRL) team, the Melbourne Storm. It is currently host to athletics meetings conducted by Athletics Victoria. It served as the home of Melbourne Victory (A-League) home games for two seasons (2005-2007).

Olympic Park has a capacity of 18,500 spectators with 11,000 seats.

Athletics

Australian athletes have competed on the track for over fifty years and the venue has hosted twelve National Championships.

Thirteen world records in athletics have been established at the track with Pole vaulter Emma George setting four between 1995 and 1998.

Australian middle distance star John Landy featured in a memorable race at the 1956 National Championships, where he stopped during the Mile championship to assist the fallen junior champion, Ron Clarke. Landy's actions, in front of a 22,000 strong crowd have been described as 'the finest sporting moment in the history of sport'. Landy went on to win the event with many commentators believing that the stop had cost him the world record.

A photograph of the fall was named the 'Best Australian Sporting Photo of the Twentieth Century' while Landy's conduct was named by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame as the nation's finest sporting moment of the 20th Century.

The track is host to the most significant athletics meeting in Australia each year, the Athletics Grand Prix Series, Melbourne, meet (previously the Telstra A-Series meet).

Football (soccer)

Olympic Park was the first stadium in Australia to be recognised officially by FIFAmarker. From the mid 1950s onward the venue was considered to be the unofficial home of soccer in Victoria . It regularly hosted important games of the Victorian State League, including Dockerty Cup finals and games by overseas tourning teams . The stadium also held FIFA World Cup qualification matches, 1993 FIFA World Youth Championship matches, and group matches of the 1956 Olympics football competition.

As well as hosting several National Soccer League Grand Finals, various football clubs used the venue as a permanent or temporary home, such as Melbourne Croatia, South Melbourne Hellas and Heidelberg United. A-League club Melbourne Victory also initially played its home games at the venue, before capacity issues saw it move to the much larger Docklands Stadiummarker the following season.

Rugby League

The stadium has hosted several rugby league international matches and was home from 1998 to 2009 to the Melbourne Storm.

The Western grandstand is named the "Glenn Lazarus stand" after the Storm's foundation captain and the Eastern grandstand is named the "Tawera Nikau stand" after the legendary Melbourne forward. Local fans have unofficially dubbed the Northern end standing room, the "Marcus Bai stand" after one of the Storm's most popular players and outstanding wingers.

The Melbourne Storm's nickname for the stadium is "The Graveyard", due to their excellent record at this stadium.Melbourne Storm will follow the Victory out in 2010, and both will move into the new stadium. , as the stadium is poorly suited for rugby league as the dimensions of the pitch is too small. They have currently moved administration and training to Carlton'smarker Princes Parkmarker temporarily until the new Melbourne Rectangular Stadiummarker is ready. They played their last game there on round 25, 29th of August 2009, winning 38-4 against the Sydney Roosters.

Rugby Union

The stadium has hosted several rugby union international matches and was home to the Melbourne Rebels in 2007.

Other sports

The stadium has also hosted Gridiron Victoria "Vic Bowl"s between 1985-1993.

References

  1. Melbourne and Olympic Parks - Olympic Park Stadium
  2. Melbourne Herald Sun Olympic Park grab for Collingwood
  3. Austadiums - Melbourne Olympic Park
  4. Athletics Australia - National Championships
  5. - Atletics Australia - list of world records
  6. Sydney Morning Herald - Landy took it all in his stride
  7. National Centre for History Education
  8. Athletics Australia - John Landy
  9. Athletics Australia - IAAF World Series Melbourne
  10. http://www.goalweekly.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=128:olympic-park&catid=922:blast-from-the-past&Itemid=75
  11. http://www.melbournestorm.com.au/default.aspx?s=article-display&id=19794


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