Olympic stadium complete

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LONDON, England, March 31- Construction work at the London 2012 Olympic Stadium came to an end on Tuesday as the last piece of turf was laid in the pitch.The venue, which seats 80,000 spectators, took just under three years to build from start to finish at a cost of £486 million ($777 million, 552 million euros). More than 5,250 people have worked on the project.

The final touch will be applied later this year when the running track’s top surface will be put on.

London 2012 chief Sebastian Coe laid the final piece of turf along with Namibian sprinting great Frankie Fredericks.

Some 360 rolls of turf were needed to cover the 9,000-square metre infield area.

"The Olympic Stadium will be the beating heart of the new Olympic Park," Coe said, adding that though the construction was completed on time and on budget, there was still much more to do before the two-week event opens in July 2012.

"We now come in and do some work in preparation of ceremonies, to dress the stadium to ensure it has a London 2012 feel throughout and of course, the final touch — to lay the track.

"By summer, the stadium will be a working venue ready to host a test event before it becomes the centre piece of next summer’s Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

"The innovative design coupled with fantastic crowds will provide an electric atmosphere at Games-time."

London Mayor Boris Johnson called it a "fantastic milestone" in preparations for the 2012 Olympics.

"The faultless construction of the stadium, on time and under budget, is a shining example of how London is primed and ready to host the greatest show on Earth," he said.

Fredericks, chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s athletes’ commission, added: "Athletes that have spent a lifetime training for their Olympic dream deserve to be able to achieve it in the best possible conditions. I believe that those competing here in 2012 will not be disappointed."

The two-tier bowl in Stratford, east London, will host the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the athletics track and field events.

After the Games have finished, English Premier League football side West Ham United will take it over, moving from their Upton Park home.

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