Jump to content

Olympic Stadium (Athens)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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
OwnerGovernment of Greece
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) (€405 million in 2023 euros)
  • 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 Athinón "Spýros Loúis") is a sports stadium in Marousi, in the north section of Athens, Greece. With a total capacity of 75,000, it is the largest sports venue in Greece. It is a part of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA) 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, including the opening and closing ceremonies.

Built in 1982 for the 1982 European Athletics Championships and the Hellenic Football Federation's host bid for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, it became the national stadium of Greece. In its original iteration, it served as the home ground for football clubs Panathinaikos from 1984 to 2000, Olympiacos from 1984 to 1989 and again from 1997 to 2002, and AEK Athens from 1985 to 1987.[2] Additionally, it became the main venue for athletics, as Greek track rose on the international stage, while it also hosted the Greek national football team. It served as the venue for the 1991 Mediterranean Games and the 1997 World Athletics Championships.

As part of the greater construction of the Olympic Sports Complex, the stadium was substantially renovated from 2002 to 2004, to some controversy, highlighted by its trademark roof, designed by Santiago Calatrava. The hosting of the 2004 Olympics and Paralympics became a huge success and was highly lucrative for Greece. After the Games, it hosted Panathinaikos on several occasions from 2005 to 2023 and AEK Athens from 2004 to 2022, while serving as the country's primary sports venue. By the early 2020's, it had become increasingly dilapidated and it was closed on safety grounds in October 2023. Following modifications on the roof, it reopened in May 2024.

The Olympic Stadium has hosted three European Cup/Champions League finals, in 1983, 1994 and 2007, the 1987 European Cup Winners' Cup Final and the men's final in the Summer Olympics.


Located in the suburb of Marousi in Athens, the Olympic Stadium was originally designed in 1980 and built in 1980–1982. At over 75,000 capacity, it became the biggest football and track stadium in Greece, well surpassing Thessaloniki's Kaftanzoglio Stadium, which stood at just below 45,000 capacity at the time, following the nationwide renovations after the Karaiskakis Stadium disaster.

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. Considered an illustrious architectural achievement, it was dubbed by European media as "The modern Greek Wonder". One year later, in 1983, OAKA Stadium hosted the 1983 European Cup final between Hamburger SV and Juventus. In 1984, Panathinaikos took over the Olympic Stadium as their home ground after the Leoforos Alexandras Stadium, fell into disrepair. At the same year Olympiacos also decided to play their home games in the Olympic Stadium instead of the Karaiskakis Stadium, which they shared with city rivals until 1989. The club had successfully experimented with the stadium's usage in its 1982–83 and 1983–84 European campaigns, which included a 2–0 win against Dutch giants AFC Ajax in September 1983, and a 0–4 loss to eventual winners Hamburger in November 1982, which recorded the ground's highest official figures to date, at 75,223 spectators, although unofficial estimates for many events range higher.

In 1985 AEK Athens also moved to the Olympic Stadium until 1987, due to construction works at AEK Stadium. During the club's brief stay at the stadium's initial configuration, an official attendance record of 74,465 was set in a home league match versus Olympiacos in February 1986, which is an all time record for a Greek football match.

In the 1980s, the three largest Greek football clubs temporarily played in the same stadium, so that during the 1985–86 season the most tickets were sold in one season in Greece, with 1,784,844 tickets sold in 45 games.[3]

Olympiacos returned to the Karaiskakis Stadium in 1989, but as their contract for the stadium rent expired in 1997, the team returned to the Olympic Stadium, which ushered an era of unprecedented success, as the team would win five consecutive league titles and reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in the 1998–99 season, establishing a long period of dominance in Greek football, characterised by famous club players such as Christian Karembeu and Giovanni, before departing in 2002 to make way for the Olympic renovations. As the plans for a total renovation of the aging Karaiskakis Stadium commenced, the team played in the Georgios Kamaras Stadium, commonly known as Rizoupoli, from 2002 to 2004, before settling in the rebuilt Karaiskakis, where the club has been situated since.

In 1987, the stadium hosted the 1986–87 European Cup Winners' Cup final between Ajax and Lokomotiv Leipzig. Olympic Stadium is an UEFA category four stadium and is the largest stadium in Greece. In 1994, the stadium hosted their second European Cup Final, this time contested between Milan and Barcelona. 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. As a result, the construction works for the stadium which begun in 2002 resulted in Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, who had returned to the Olympic Stadium in 1997, to return to their original homegrounds by the same year. In addition, every final of the Greek Football Cup between 1983 to 2002 took place in the arena intermittently, while it also hosted the only final of the Greek League Cup in 1990.[4]

2004 Summer Olympics[edit]

The Olympic flame at the 2004 Summer Olympics opening ceremony

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.


After the Olympic Games, AEK Athens and Panathinaikos, whose stadiums had become dilapidated and no longer met safety regulations, moved again to the Olympic Stadium. AEK's move back to the stadium after 17 years came as the Nikos Goumas Stadium, the club's traditional home ground since 1930, was demolished in 2003. After spending the first half of the 2003–04 season at the Nea Smyrni Stadium and then primarily at the Giannis Pathiakakis Stadium, due to fan incidents,[7] the club completed its move at the end of the Olympic Games as a temporary stay,[8] which became permanent as AEK's plans for a new stadium were put on halt in the 2000's, due to the club's financial condition.[9]

In 2007, OAKA Stadium hosted the 2007 UEFA Champions League final between Milan and Liverpool. 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. Greece applied together with Turkey to host the 2008 and 2012 European Football Championships, with the finals supposed to have taken place in the Athens Olympic Stadium. However, the applications failed: in 2008 the competition went to Austria and Switzerland and for 2012 UEFA decided in favor of Poland and Ukraine.[10]

On 18 March 2012, wild incidents occurred in the derby between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, as after the goal from the red and whites at the eleventh minute, hooligans from the home team threw Molotov cocktails at the stands, which were filled with around 50,000 spectators, and the pitch. The game had to be abandoned and was awarded 3–0 to Olympiacos and Panathinaikos were deducted five points. There were 30 fires in the arena and 57 arrests.[11] On 14 April 2013, several AEK Athens ultras stormed the pitch during the game against Panthrakikos, who had taken the lead in the 87th minute. The game was subsequently cancelled and awarded 0–3 for Panthrakikos, as AEK Athens were eventually relegated for the first time in their history after being deducted an additional three points.[12] Nevertheless, they continued using the stadium as their home ground.

In 2013, Panathinaikos, unable to afford the rent for the Olympic Stadium, due to the club's deteriorating financial situation, returned in the renovated Leoforos Alexandras Stadium,[13] however the green used again the Olympic Stadium as their home ground from 2018 to 2020. In 2022, as Agia Sophia Stadium was completed, AEK Athens left the Olympic Stadium, after a stay for nearly two decades characterised by major ups and downs for the club's history.[14] After the Olympics, the Olympic Stadium hosted again the Greek Football Cup finals from 2009 to 2016 and in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022 respectively.[4]

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.[15] 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.[16]

Following the removal of unsafe panels on the roof, the stadium reopened in May 2024. The renovations are expected to be completed by 2026.[17]



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.[18]


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 Event Attendance
19 September 1983 Dionysis Savvopoulos 80,000
30 September George Dalaras 160,000[19]
3 October 1983
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[24]
31 May 1989 Pink Floyd A Momentary Lapse of Reason 60,000
9 June 1992 Frank Sinatra 18,000[25]
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[26]
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[23]
20 July 2011 Bon Jovi Open Air 60,652
4 September 2012 Red Hot Chili Peppers I'm With You ~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[27]
6 July 2022 Scorpions, Alice Cooper Rock Believer Tour 2022 ~30,000[28]
16 July 2022 Iron Maiden Legacy of the Beast World Tour 40,000
22 July 2023 Guns N' Roses Guns N' Roses 2023 Tour 45,000[29]
30 May 2024 Rammstein Europe Stadium Tour ~30,000
8 June 2024 Coldplay Music of the Spheres World Tour 130,000
9 June 2024


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Description: Capacity". oaka.com.gr. 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". sport24.gr (in Greek). Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  3. ^ "Το προ-Ολυμπιακό ΟΑΚΑ (1982 έως 2002)". stadia.gr.
  4. ^ a b "Greece - Cup Data (from Quarterfinals on)". RSSSF.
  5. ^ "Olympic-Size Solution Raises Athens Stadium Roof". Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  6. ^ 2004 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 2. pp. 242, 324.
  7. ^ https://www.aek365.org/a-900130/otan-h-aek-htan-ghpedouxo-ston-tauro-fwto-video.htm
  8. ^ "ΑΕΚ: Η «οδύσσεια» τελειώνει μετά από 19 χρόνια και 102 ημέρες και 10 διαφορετικές έδρες". sportday.gr. 4 September 2022.
  9. ^ Χορτάτος, Τόλης (5 May 2013). "Φάκελος: Γήπεδο ΑΕΚ" [File AEK Stadium] (in Greek). Archived from the original on 21 January 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Mε εννέα αντιπάλους η Eλλάδα στην αφετηρία". tanea.gr. 2 February 2005.
  11. ^ "Εκτεταμένα επεισόδια στο ΟΑΚΑ και διακοπή του «αιώνιου» ντέρμπι". ΤΟ ΒΗΜΑ. 18 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Αυτογκόλ, ντου και διακοπή στο ΑΕΚ-Πανθρακικός!". sport24.gr.
  13. ^ "Λεωφόρος, η επιστροφή". sport24.gr.
  14. ^ ""Η ΑΕΚ τη σεζόν 2022-23 θα παίζει στην Αγιά Σοφιά"". regista.gr.
  15. ^ "«Ξεψαχνίζουν» τη στέγη Καλατράβα στο ΟΑΚΑ - Σε εξέλιξη έλεγχος των μεταλλικών κατασκευών". dnews.gr.
  16. ^ "Greece shuts landmark Olympic stadium over roof safety concerns". reuters.com. 2 October 2023. Retrieved 2 October 2023.
  17. ^ "Έτσι θ' ανοίξει το ΟΑΚΑ: Οι εργασίες-εξπρές και η συντήρηση εν λειτουργία - Πώς αποφεύχθηκε το φιάσκο με τους Coldplay". protothema.gr (in Greek). 11 February 2024. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ a b operator (30 September 1983). "Ολυμπιακό Στάδιο της Αθήνας". georgedalaras.com (in Greek). Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  20. ^ "Μουσικό Κουτί" (1997): Αυτοβιογραφικό ένθετο & αποκόμματα περιοδικών/εφημερίδων
  21. ^ operator (27 September 1987). "Τα "LATIN" στο Ολυμπιακό Στάδιο". georgedalaras.com (in Greek). Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  22. ^ "Συναυλίες που έγραψαν Ιστορία: ΟΑΚΑ, 1988 - Διεθνής Αμνηστία". tanea.gr (in Greek). 26 August 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  23. ^ a b "Οι Πυξ Λαξ ενθουσίασαν τους 70.000 θεατές τους". tovima.gr (in Greek). 14 July 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  24. ^ "Συναυλίες που έγραψαν Ιστορία: ΟΑΚΑ, 1988 - Διεθνής Αμνηστία". Timeline (in Greek). 26 August 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  25. ^ "Sinatra Show A Greek Tragedy For Backers - Chicago Tribune". Archived from the original on 19 March 2014.
  26. ^ "Boxscore, Top 10 concert grosses". Billboard. Billboard Newspaper, Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 3 October 1998. p. 20. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  27. ^ "Billboard Boxscore :: Current Scores". Billboard. November 20, 2014. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  28. ^ "Scorpions και Alice Cooper «ταρακούνησαν» το ΟΑΚΑ σε μια μεγαλειώδη συναυλία - Δείτε βίντεο και φωτογραφίες". protothema.gr (in Greek). 6 July 2022. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  29. ^ "Guns N' Roses were impressive at OAKA". oaka.com.gr. 24 July 2023. Retrieved 24 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