Olympic Stadium (Athens)

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Olympic Stadium of Athens
Ολυμπιακό Στάδιο της Αθήνας
Full nameCentral Olympic Stadium of O.A.C.A. "Spyros Louis"
Former namesSpyros Louis Stadium
LocationMarousi, Athens, Greece
Public transitAthens Metro Athens Metro Line 1 Eirini
OwnerHellenic Olympic Committee
OperatorOAKA S.A.
Executive suites17
  • 69,618 (regulated capacity)[1]
  • 75,000 (total capacity)
Field size105 x 68 m[1]
SurfaceGrass, track
Broke ground1979[1]
Opened8 September 1982[1]
Construction cost€265 million (2004)
  • Weidleplan (arch. H. Stalhout, Fr. Herre and D.Andrikopoulos)
  • Santiago Calatrava (renovation)

The Olympic Stadium of Athens "Spyros Louis" (Greek: Ολυμπιακό Στάδιο Αθηνών "Σπύρος Λούης", Olympiakó Stádio Athinon "Spyros Louis") is a sports stadium in Marousi, in the north section of Athens, Greece. It is a part of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex and is named after the first modern Olympic marathon gold medalist in 1896, Spyros Louis. The stadium served as the main stadium during the 2004 Summer Olympics and the 2004 Summer Paralympics. More recently, the stadium was the home of AEK Athens and the Greece national football team until the inauguration of the Agia Sophia Stadium in 2022. Greece's two biggest football clubs, Olympiacos and Panathinaikos have also used the stadium as a home ground in the past.[2] Panathinaikos have been set to use the stadium for the team's home European games in the 2023–24 season,[3] but the stadium was temporarily closed (pending investigations) over a failed safety inspection in October 2023 after only hosting the first group stage match.[4] Following the removal of worn panels on the roof and replacement with new panels, it was announced the stadium will reopen by April 2024.[5]


Located in the suburb of Marousi in Athens, the Olympic Stadium was originally designed in 1980 and built in 1980–1982. It was completed in time to host the 1982 European Championships in Athletics. It was inaugurated by the President of Greece at the time, Konstantinos Karamanlis, on 8 September 1982. One year later, in 1983, OAKA Stadium hosted the 1983 European Cup final between Hamburger SV and Juventus (1-0). In 1987, the stadium hosted the 1986–87 European Cup Winners' Cup final between Ajax and Lokomotiv Leipzig (1-0). Olympic stadium is an UEFA category four stadium and is the largest stadium in Greece. In 1994, OAKA Stadium hosted their second 1994 UEFA Champions League final, this time contested between AC Milan and Barcelona (4-0). It also hosted several events of the 1991 Mediterranean Games and the 1997 World Championships in Athletics, sought in order to prove that it was capable of hosting major sporting events after the failure of Athens to win the 1996 Summer Olympics but successfully hosting the 2004 Summer Olympics.

It was extensively renovated in time for the 2004 Summer Olympics and the 2004 Summer Paralympics, including a roof designed by Santiago Calatrava, and innovatively positioned with Enerpac hydraulics.[6] The roof was added atop the sidelines and completed just in time for the opening of the Games. The stadium was then officially re-opened on 30 July 2004. It hosted the athletics events and the football finals at the Olympics and the athletics at the Paralympics.[7] It also hosted the opening ceremony on 13 August 2004, and the closing ceremony on 29 August 2004 along the paralympics ceremonies on 17 and 28 September. In 2007, OAKA Stadium hosted the 2007 UEFA Champions League final between AC Milan and Liverpool (2-1). The stadium's attendance was reduced to 72,000 for the Olympics, the initial capacity was some 75,000, though only 69,618 seats were made publicly available for the track and field events and slightly more for the football final. The turf system consists of natural grass in modular containers which incorporate irrigation and drainage systems.

In 2023, an inspection of the stadium's roof and a preliminary study of upgrades were organized to prepare stadium for the first renovation since 2004.[8] After the inspection, the stadium and the nearby Athens Olympic Velodrome were subsequently ordered to stop instituting any sort of organized events inside the venues and effectively shut down over safety failures.[4]

Following the removal of unsafe panels on the roof, the stadium will reopen in April 2024. The new panels will be installed with the stadium open and the renovations are expected to be completed by 2026.[9]



The foundation stone for the Olympic Stadium was laid on 7 January 1980. Its construction was revolutionary and involved the use of a prefabrication method for the 34 sets of pillars supporting the stands (each weighed 600 tons). About 26,000 seats of the lower tier were covered, while the stadium's most striking feature were the four leaning pillars that held its floodlights, each being 62 metres tall. The Athens Olympic Stadium was finally inaugurated in September 1982.


The stadium was renovated from 2002 until 2004 adding the famous roof for the 2004 Summer Olympics. The central lawn of O.A.K.A consists of approximately 6.000 plastic capsules inside which thermophile lawn is grown. The capsules are adjoining, their size is 1.2*1.2m and are situated on a flat cement surface of two acres, flanked by two lateral drainage channels. The irrigation of the lawn is achieved by 35 automatically elevated water launchers with the use of programmed irrigation. This system allows the movement of the lawn to an area outside the stadium in order for the surface to be used for different events. Thirty-four entrance gates provide access to the stands. Odd gate numbers (1 to 35) lead to the lower and even numbers (2 to 34) to the upper tier. There are no gates numbered 18 and 36, since the two video-scoreboards are located in their place. Additionally, the stadium features 17 VIP boxes and 3 parking lots. Due to its design, the stadium's tribunes have the ability to empty within 7 minutes.

Competition Area

  • 105X68m football field
  • 400m track of 9 lanes
  • 4 pole vault boxes
  • 4 circles for shot put
  • 2 lanes for javelin
  • 2 circles for discus throw (one of which is equipped with a safety net which can be transformed into a hammer circle)
  • 6 lanes for long jump and triple jump
  • 2 mattresses for high jump
  • 2 electronic scoreboards


Designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the roof cost €256.2 million. The two giant arcs have a total span of 304m and a maximum height of 72m. The roof has a total weight of 18,700 tons coverering by 5,000 polycarbonate panels which covers an area of 25,000 square metres. The west arc was assembled 72m from its final position and the east 65m - both later slid into place. The roof is designed to withstand winds up to 120 km/h and earthquakes up to magnitude 8.[10]


Access by:

Car - Exit the city centre to the north via Kifissias Avenue and just follow the road signs to "OAKA". If you come from the Attiki Odos ring road, use exit 11 ("Kifissias - Ol. Stadium").

Bus - Use X14 from Syntagma Square in central Athens. It will take you directly to the Olympic Stadium in at least 30 minutes.

Metro - It is a 25-minute ride from the city centre. Use Line 1 and get off at "Irini" or "Neratziotissa". From there, it is a 10-minute walk from the Olympic Complex to the stadium.



List of concerts at Olympic Stadium "Spiros Louis", showing date, artist, tour and attendance
Date Artist Tour Attendance
19 September 1983 Dionysis Savvopoulos 80,000
30 September & 3 October 1983 George Dalaras 160,000[16]
13 September 1985 George Dalaras, Haris Alexiou, Dimitra Galani, Vasilis Papakonstantinou, Giannis Kalatzis Tribute to Manos Loizos 70,000
28 September 1987 George Dalaras 74,000
3 October 1988 Sting, Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Tracy Chapman, Youssou N'Dour, George Dalaras Human Rights Now! 70,000[17]
31 May 1989 Pink Floyd A Momentary Lapse of Reason 60,000
9 June 1992 Frank Sinatra 18,000[18]
24 May 1993 Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusion 55,000
16 September 1994 George Dalaras, Haris Alexiou, Dimitra Galani, Nana Mouskouri, Georges Moustaki, Stavros Xarchakos Dedicated to Melina Merkouri 74,000
16 September 1998 The Rolling Stones Bridges to Babylon 79,446[19]
3 July 2001 Eros Ramazzotti Stilelibero
20 July 2006 Shakira Oral Fixation Tour 40,000
26 July 2007 George Michael 25 Live 40,000
27 September 2008 Madonna Sticky & Sweet 75,637
28 May 2009 AC/DC Black Ice World Tour 50,000
8 July 2009 Carlos Santana Live Your Light 25,000
3 September 2010 U2 U2 360° Tour 82,662
13 July 2011 Pyx Lax Concert in memory of Manos Xydous 70,000[15]
20 July 2011 Bon Jovi Open Air 60,652
4 September 2012 Red Hot Chili Peppers I'm With You approx.60,000
3 July 2014 Antonis Remos, Despoina Vandi, Melina Aslanidou, Michalis Kouinelis (Stavento) One Country, One Voice 50,000+
19 September 2014 Lady Gaga ArtRave: The Artpop Ball 26,860[20]
6 July 2022 Scorpions, Alice Cooper Rock Believer Tour 2022 approx.30,000[21]
16 July 2022 Iron Maiden Legacy of the Beast World Tour 52,000[22]
22 July 2023 Guns N' Roses We're F'N' Back! Tour approx. 50,000[23]
8 & 9 June 2024 Coldplay Music of the Spheres World Tour


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Description: Capacity". O.A.K.A. "Spiros Louis". Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  2. ^ "Στη Ριζούπολη τα δύο πρώτα εντός έδρας ματς της ΑΕΚ με Βόλο και ΠΑΣ Γιάννινα". www.sport24.gr (in Greek). Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  3. ^ Team, Onsports (26 July 2023). "Παναθηναϊκός: Στο ΟΑΚΑ τα εντός σε όμιλο Europa League ή Champions League". Onsports.gr (in Greek). Retrieved 14 August 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Greece shuts landmark Olympic stadium over roof safety concerns". Reuters. 2 October 2023. Retrieved 2 October 2023.
  5. ^ "Έτσι θ' ανοίξει το ΟΑΚΑ: Οι εργασίες-εξπρές και η συντήρηση εν λειτουργία - Πώς αποφεύχθηκε το φιάσκο με τους Coldplay". ProtoThema (in Greek). 11 February 2024. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  6. ^ "Olympic-Size Solution Raises Athens Stadium Roof". Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  7. ^ 2004 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 2. pp. 242, 324.
  8. ^ "«Ξεψαχνίζουν» τη στέγη Καλατράβα στο ΟΑΚΑ - Σε εξέλιξη έλεγχος των μεταλλικών κατασκευών".
  9. ^ "Έτσι θ' ανοίξει το ΟΑΚΑ: Οι εργασίες-εξπρές και η συντήρηση εν λειτουργία - Πώς αποφεύχθηκε το φιάσκο με τους Coldplay". ProtoThema (in Greek). 11 February 2024. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  10. ^ Prof. Spiro N. Pollalis (February 2006). "The roof of the Olympic Stadium for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games" (PDF). Harvard Design School. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  11. ^ operator (30 September 1983). "Ολυμπιακό Στάδιο της Αθήνας". Γιώργος Νταλάρας (in Greek). Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  12. ^ "Μουσικό Κουτί" (1997): Αυτοβιογραφικό ένθετο & αποκόμματα περιοδικών/εφημερίδων
  13. ^ operator (27 September 1987). "Τα "LATIN" στο Ολυμπιακό Στάδιο". Γιώργος Νταλάρας (in Greek). Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  14. ^ "Συναυλίες που έγραψαν Ιστορία: ΟΑΚΑ, 1988 - Διεθνής Αμνηστία". ΤΑ ΝΕΑ (in Greek). 26 August 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  15. ^ a b "Οι Πυξ Λαξ ενθουσίασαν τους 70.000 θεατές τους". ΤΟ ΒΗΜΑ (in Greek). 14 July 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  16. ^ operator (30 September 1983). "Ολυμπιακό Στάδιο της Αθήνας". Γιώργος Νταλάρας (in Greek). Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  17. ^ "Συναυλίες που έγραψαν Ιστορία: ΟΑΚΑ, 1988 - Διεθνής Αμνηστία". Timeline (in Greek). 26 August 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  18. ^ "Sinatra Show A Greek Tragedy For Backers - Chicago Tribune". Archived from the original on 19 March 2014.
  19. ^ "Boxscore, Top 10 concert grosses". Billboard. Billboard Newspaper, Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 3 October 1998. p. 20. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  20. ^ "Billboard Boxscore :: Current Scores". Billboard. November 20, 2014. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  21. ^ "Scorpions και Alice Cooper «ταρακούνησαν» το ΟΑΚΑ σε μια μεγαλειώδη συναυλία - Δείτε βίντεο και φωτογραφίες". ProtoThema (in Greek). 6 July 2022. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  22. ^ "Iron Maiden: Κατάμεστο το ΟΑΚΑ για τη συναυλία του θρυλικού συγκροτήματος - 50.000 κόσμος «ταρακούνησε» το στάδιο (Βίντεο)". Timeline (in Greek). 17 July 2022. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  23. ^ "Guns'n'Roses Rocks Athens with Unforgettable Performance". greekcitytimes.com. 24 July 2023. Retrieved 26 July 2023.

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by European Athletics Championships
Main venue

Succeeded by
Preceded by European Cup
Final venue

Succeeded by
Preceded by European Cup Winners' Cup
Final venue

Succeeded by
Preceded by UEFA Champions League
Final venue

Succeeded by
Preceded by IAAF World Championships in Athletics
Main venue

Succeeded by
Preceded by Summer Olympics
Opening and closing ceremonies (Olympic Stadium)

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Sydney Olympic Stadium
Summer Olympics
Olympic athletics competitions
Main venue

Succeeded by
Beijing National Stadium
Preceded by
Sydney Olympic Stadium
Summer Olympics
Men's football final

Succeeded by
Beijing National Stadium
Preceded by UEFA Champions League
Final venue

Succeeded by