Climbing the Olympic Stadium

If you like climbing in unusual places, then the Olympic Stadium in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, might be the ticket. You can climb all over the roof, abseil onto the running track, or use the steel cable running over the arena below. All these tours are guided and perfectly safe to go to. And you'll get all the specialized information for the price of one.

Julian Gross, tour guide
Olympic Stadium, Munich

As he also lives on the grounds of the Olympic Village of 1972, he will also fill you in with all the historic details of the terrible terrorist attack that happened during the Olympic Games.

He will also tell you about the historic importance of the building itself. The games were planned to be a bench mark in Olympic history. They should help counteract the fateful Olympic Games held in Berlin in 1936 under Adolf Hitler. They were hailed as the games of democracy. All that went out of the window with the terrorist attack by the Palestinians.

The stadium was built on purpose as a counterpoint to Nazi structures. No monumental structure dominating a landscape was built, but a building nestling into the landscape. The colors of the Olympic Stadium were chosen with care. It contains all colors with the exception of black and red (the colors of the Nazi swastika war flags) and brown.

The architecture is extraordinary even today: A tent-like structure is providing the roof for no less than three Olympic venues. The stadium, the indoors sports center and the aquatics center are all covered by the 75,000 square meter roof.

This seemingly weightless mesh of steel is resting on deeply set pylons to take the enormous weight. During construction, the whole roof structure was supported by cranes to allow the building of it piece by piece. When all pieces were fit, all people involved in design, planning and construction assembled on the far spectator stand to watch the cranes being removed.

As such a construction of this magnitude had never been assembled before, the outcome was clearly calculated, but untried in the real world. When the canes let loose, the whole roof started swinging until it finally settled into its state of equilibrium. We imagine a cheer going up when the whole thing didn't collapse.

As a comment on the side: The Munich Olympic Stadium was built in 1972. The one in London was built in 2012. The roof of the London stadium is so leaky after three years that about a quarter of the staircases can't be used when it rains. The Munich roof is still watertight. I refrain from stating the obvious.

Further reading
Google Goes Gay on Sochi
Lausanne, World Capital of Sports
History of the FIS Alpine Ski World Championship