The schedule for the first day of the Track & Field events on Friday features mainly qualifying heats and preliminary rounds, however two gold medals will also be awarded: Men's shot put and women's 10,000m race. A look at the design of the actual track that the athletes will be competing on.
A lot goes into an Olympic athlete's preparation, but few track and field spectators are aware of the intricacies that go into the design of the Olympic athletics track in the Olympic Stadium in East London. More than two years of research went into the development of the cutting-edge track by Italian company Mondo.
The technology was first used at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. Five world records were set on the Mondo track then: Men's 100 meters, Men's 200, Men's 4x100, Women's 3000-meter steeplechase and Women's pole vault.
The cutting-edge technology developed by exclusive Olympic track designer Mondo includes two different layers of rubber: a solid upper layer to optimize slip resistance, traction and durability and a backing cushion for shock absorption. According to the BBC, "this design cuts the need for the spikes on athletes' running shoes to penetrate the running surface."
Around 120 tons of rubber were used in the construction of the 8,700-square-meter London Olympic track. The track was manufactured at Mondo's manufacturing plant in Italy and delivered in 875 rolls -- the installation process was then done by hand.
The material provides fast reaction, recovering fast from pressure and acting like a springboard underfoot providing more energy return by assisting the athlete into the next stride. The material is also UV-resistant and impermeable. Before the Olympics, tests to the track were carried out by the Labosport Company using artificial athletes, machines that simulate the movements of an athlete running. The main aim of the tests was to ensure that the surface is the same as the tracks used at the most recent competitions such as Beijing 2008.
Meanwhile, the design of the Olympic Stadium itself has been recognized by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), which shortlisted it for the Stirling Prize last month.