Don Valley Stadium
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The Don Valley Stadium is an athletics stadium in Sheffield, England. It was designed by Sheffield City Council's Design & Building Services and built by RM Douglas Construction. The complex opened in 1990, ready for the 1991 World Student Games and has since become a profitable centre for athletics in the area. It is named after the River Don, near which it lies. The stadium is situated on the Sheffield Supertram line, between Attercliffe and Meadowhall. It is home for the Sheffield Eagles rugby league team and is also used for Channel 4's celebrity sports show, The Games and for concerts, hosting acts such as The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Stadium also hosts BritBowl, the championship finals of the British American Football League. The stadium and facilities provide a training base for the City of Sheffield Athletic Club. Don Valley Stadium is notable as being the largest athletics stadium in the UK with a capacity of 25,000. [edit] History Completed in September 1990 at a cost of £29m, the Don Valley Stadium was the first completely new national sporting venue built outdoors in Great Britain since Wembley in the early twenties. It was built as the centre-piece of a £147m construction programme needed to provide the necessary sports and cultural facilities to enable the city to host the 1991 World Student Games. The track is sunk five metres below ground level and is sheltered by banks of spectator seating, creating a 'bowl effect'. This not only gives ideal viewing conditions, but also offers athletes every opportunity of producing peak performances. This record-breaking philosophy has even had a bearing on the angle at which the track is set and its positioning is relative to the prevailing winds and the rise and fall of the sun. The finishing line has been positioned at the east end of the stadium which means that in the afternoon and evening when most meetings are held the sun will always be at the athletes backs in the finishing straight, as is the prevailing westerly wind. Jan Zelezny threw 95.66m in the Javelin on the 29 Aug 1993 (which was a world record at the time) and infamously nearly skewered the TV commentators who were interviewing close to the start/finish line ! The whole of the running track and its infield is illuminated by the strongest floodlighting system in the country. Each of the five lighting towers used is 45 metres above track level and carries a lighting head as tall as a typical three storey house (11 metres high). All amenities for competitors and officials are at track level with all spectator facilities at natural ground level. This means, for example, that disabled spectators have level access from the main car park straight through to the mid level of spectator seating. VIP facilities are on a third level while the top-most of the four levels has been set aside for hospitality boxes and press areas. The Stadium's major focal point is its grandstand which holds 10,000 spectators. The main canopy roof has an area of 6000 square metres and is made of Teflon coated glass fibre. It is supported by ladder masts reaching 12m above the top of the grandstand, the latter are painted yellow and give the stadium its unmistakable appearance. They also give completely uninterrupted sight lines around the bowl although coverage from the rain in the bottom half of the stand can be problematic. Underneath the main stand is located an 85m indoor running/warm up track. Up to 15,000 spectators can also be accommodated on the open terracing making the seating capacity 25,000, although the stadium has a maximum capacity of 52,000 if the infield is used for standing. There were plans to use the stadium in a Sheffield bid for the 2002 Commonwealth games (which eventually went to Manchester) and also to use it as a potential joint ground for the city's two football teams. In both of these eventualities the seated capacity would have been raised to 45,000.
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