Sport has always unified and brought people together, whether it is competing on a race track in the Olympics or scoring a goal in the World Cup final, the challenge of sport is invigorating and unifies nations. But let us consider where these great sporting events take place, cathedrals of sport now adorn the planet, so the gladiators of competition can battle it out in front of thousands of adoring spectators.
In ancient times large arenas and amphitheatres were erected to house the number of spectators that wished to see gladiators competing, and today the sporting arena is just as important as it was all those years ago. In this blog we take a look at some of the largest, most spectacular sporting arenas on the planet and we start in China.
Beijing National Stadium
Many people around the world know the Beijing National Stadium as the Bird’s Nest, as it drew its inspiration from the many ancient Chinese drawings on pottery and ceramics. The stadium is actually two structures, the first is the 80,000-capacity concrete bowl and the exterior is the nest, which comprises of random looking steel structures. The stadium was designed and erected for the 2008 Summer Olympics and played host to all the track and field events. It is one of the most iconic sporting stadiums in the world.
FNB Stadium Johannesburg
The FNB Stadium was erected in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and many locals of Johannesburg simply call it Soccer City. It was also chosen to be the venue for one of the most historic events in South Africa’s history, Nelson Mandela’s final political appearance. The stadium was first opened in 1989 but was redeveloped extensively to host the 2010 World Cup, it has a 95,000 capacity which is the largest in Africa. The exterior features a unique design of being illuminated at the base to replicate an African cooking pot or calabash.
This London stadium has been the national stadium of England football team for nearly a century, and is the second biggest European stadium. The new stadium was erected on the same site as the old Wembley Stadium and was completed in 2007 at a cost of a staggering $1.3 billion. It can hold 90,000 spectators and allows rugby, football, and American football to be played there. There is a huge arch over the stadium which is 436 feet high that helps to support the roof.
This athletics stadium was built specially for the 1972 Summer Olympics, although there have been many events since that have taken place there including the 1974 FIFA World Cup Final. The design is modern with sweeping glass canopies covering the spectators. Its capacity is just under 70,000 and an interesting feature is that the stadium was constructed in a pit that had been formed by bombing in WWII.
This fine piece of German engineering concludes the first part of the best stadiums in the world, in part two we will be kicking off again in China, Brazil and the U.S.A.