The Helsinki Olympic Stadium is a multi-purpose sports stadium located in the Toolo district about two kilometers from the centre of the Finnish capital Helsinki. It has a capacity of 42,062, which is however set to be reduced to 35,000-36,000, as the stadium is undergoing renovations.
It serves as the home ground of the Finland national football team, but is more often used for other sports like athletics, equestrian show jumping, hockey, bandy, speed skating, etc.
The eye-catching feature of the stadium is the 72.71 m tower, which gives a tremendous view of the city of Helsinki and is an attraction in itself. The tower is constructed to match the exact length of the gold medal win by Matti Jarvinen in javelin throw of the 1932 Summer Olympics.
The stadium is quoted as the world’s most beautiful Olympic stadium, and covers an area of 4.9 hectares. It currently houses a restaurant, a youth hostel and the Finnish Sports museum, which are to be soon complemented with more modern facilities with the undergoing renovations.
The construction of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium began on 12th February 1934, and took four years for completion. It was completed in 1938 and inaugurated in the month of June.
The stadium was constructed with the principal aim of hosting the 1940 Summer Olympics, which was shifted from Tokyo to Helsinki. However, the event was cancelled because of the advent of the World War II.
The stadium was designed by Yrjo Lindegren and Toivo Jantti with focus on a clearly lined functionalistic style.
The stadium is most popularly known for hosting the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics, and was the ground for the athletics, equestrian show jumping and football finals event.
It hosted the first ever Bandy World Championship in 1957. It was also the venue for the first World Athletics Championships in 1983 and was again the host of the same in 2005. It has hosted the European Athletics Championships thrice, in 1971, 1994 and in 2012.
It acts as the home venue for HJK Helsinki football club’s ad features fixtures in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
The stadium has been under renovation process from 2016 after the Euro 2016 campaign, and is expected to take three years to finish, before it reopens again in 2019.