Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium
The central space of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games
The image of Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium is engraved on the retinas of all those who attended the city of Barcelona’s most important sporting event: the opening ceremony of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. However, very few of them would have known that this stadium was in actual fact constructed in 1929, given that since then it had been remodelled several times.
Why visit the Olympic Stadium?
On 25 July 1992, Barcelona greeted the entire world with a sonorous ‘Hola’ from the centre of this stadium. It was during the opening ceremony of the XXV Olympiad. Without doubt, this stadium is a key site of Barcelona’s recent history, although its origins date back to 1929.
The architect Pere Domènech i Roura was commissioned to build it for the Barcelona Universal Exposition. However, the facility subsequently fell into disuse until Barcelona was selected to host the Olympic Games and the stadium was fully remodelled by the team of architects formed by Gregotti, Correa, Milà, Margarit and Buxadé.
The stadium was fully renovated and only the facade and the two sculptures of horsemen by Pablo Gargallo were conserved. The ground level of the building was lowered and the stone that was extracted was used in the construction of the Sagrada Família. The remodelling of the building also created new seating expanding the capacity to 56,000 spectators.
The new stadium played host to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, in addition to the 5th IAAF World Cup in Athletics in 1989, which inaugurated the stadium and tested it out for the Olympic Games. After 1992, the stadium has been used for all types of events, not just for sport. From 1997 to 2009 it was also the home ground of RCD Espanyol football club.
In recent years, the building has undergone further remodelling, for the 20th European Athletics Championships, which were held in 2010. Since then its capacity has been increased to 60,000 spectators.
For the most curious of you
- Did you know? It was not until 2001 that the stadium was renamed the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium, in homage to the President of the Government of Catalonia during the Civil War.
- Local’s tip: It still conserves the cauldron used to light the Olympic flame. You can see it at the stadium.
- A must: For anyone feeling nostalgia for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.