The Helsinki Olympic Stadium (Finnish: Helsingin olympiastadion; Swedish: Helsingfors Olympiastadion), located in the Toolo district about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the center of the Finnish capital Helsinki, is the largest stadium in the country, nowadays mainly used for hosting sports events and big concerts. The stadium is best known for being the center of activities in the 1952 Summer Olympics. During those games, it hosted athletics, equestrian show jumping, and the football finals. It was built however to host the 1940 Summer Olympics, which were moved from Tokyo to Helsinki before being cancelled due to World War II. The stadium was also the venue for the first World Athletics Championships in 1983 as well as for the 2005 World Championships in Athletics. It hosted both the 1971 European Athletics Championships and the European Athletics Championships in 1994. It will once again be the venue for the championships in 2012. It is also the home stadium of the Finland national football team.
Construction of the Olympic Stadium began in 1934 and it was completed in 1938. The Olympic was designed in functionalistic style by the architects Yrjo Lindegren and Toivo Jantti. The stadium was completely modernized in 1990-1994 and also renovated just before the 2005 World Championships in Athletics. Its spectator capacity was at its maximum during the 1952 Summer Olympics with over 70,000 spectator places. Nowadays the stadium has 40,600 spectator places. During concerts, depending on the size of the stage, the capacity is 45,000-50,000.
The tower of the stadium, a distinct landmark with a height of 72.71 metres (238.5 ft), taken from gold-medal winning result of Matti Jarvinen in javelin throw of 1932 Summer Olympics, is open for visitors and offers impressive views over Helsinki. It is possible to see into the adjacent Sonera Stadium.