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Olympic Park Stadium
Olympic Park, The Graveyard
Mbnolypkst.jpg
Location Olympic Bvd, Melbourne, Victoria
Coordinates 37°49′29″S 144°58′52″E / 37.82472°S 144.98111°E / -37.82472; 144.98111Coordinates: 37°49′29″S 144°58′52″E / 37.82472°S 144.98111°E / -37.82472; 144.98111
Opened 1956
Owner Melbourne Olympic Parks Trust
Operator Melbourne Olympic Parks Trust
Surface Grass
Athletics Track
Capacity 18,500
Tenants
Melbourne Storm (NRL) (1998-2000, 2002-2009)

Olympic Park Stadium is a multi-purpose outdoor stadium located on Olympic Boulevard in inner Melbourne. The stadium was built as an athletics training venue for the 1956 Olympics, a short distance from the MCG, which served as the Olympic Stadium.[1] 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[2].

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

Contents

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 (soccer) and gridiron. The larger Etihad Stadium and Melbourne Cricket Ground also support rectangular configuration, but with less ideal viewing conditions. A larger 31,000 seat Melbourne Rectangular Stadium 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.[3]

Athletics

Australian athletes have competed on the track for over fifty years and the venue has hosted twelve National Championships[4].

Thirteen world records in athletics have been established at the stadium with Pole vaulter Emma George setting four between 1995 and 1998[5].

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[6] have been described as 'the finest sporting moment in the history of sport'[7]. 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'[7] while Landy's conduct was named by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame as the nation's finest sporting moment of the 20th Century[8].

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).[9]

Football (soccer)

Olympic Park was the first[1] stadium in Australia to be recognised officially by FIFA. 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 touring 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 soccer clubs used the venue as a permanent or temporary home, such as Melbourne Knights, South Melbourne 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 Stadium the following season.

Rugby League

Melbourne Storm playing South Sydney Rabbitohs at Olympic Park

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. [3] , 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's Princes Park temporarily until the new Melbourne Rectangular Stadium is ready. They played their last game there on round 25, 29th of August 2009, winning 38-4 against the Sydney Roosters.[10]

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

External links

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