After the International Olympic Committee in 1966 awarded Munich the Olympic Games, plans were solidified for the urban redevelopment of Oberwiesenfeld, an area which up until 1939, had been used as an airfield but remained largely vacant thereafter. The olympic park was designed along the the theme of "Green Olympic Games", a concept chosen by the organizing comittee to promote an optimistic outlook, setting aside memories of the past, such as the Olympic Games of 1936 in Berlin. The architectural firm of Gunther Behnisch and its partners developed a comprehensive masterplan for the sports and recreation area, which was under construction from 1968 until 1972. The landscape layout was designed by landscape architect Gunther Grzimek. The eye-catching tensile structure that covers much of the park was designed by German architect and engineer Frei Otto. In all, the project cost 1.35 billion German Marks to complete.
The name "Olympiapark" itself arose from the city's administrative commission for the naming of Bahn stations along the U- and S-Bahn routes in the city area, which on November 3, 1969 had chosen the name "Olympiapark" for the name of the Olympic station's stop along the U3 line of the Munich U-Bahn. This naming decision was based on the idea that the name "Olympiapark" related well to the central theme of a "green Olympic Games" and also to the central function of the U-Bahn station, which, in conjunction with the bus station, serviced all sports venues and important sectors of the area. Thereafter, the term quickly entered into quasi-official common parlance, and consequently into media coverage, so that in most situations, the meaning established by the administrative commission is used to describe the entire area, not merely the U-Bahn station, as was originally intended.