Following World's Worst Stadium
"Stadium" comes from the Greek word "stadion" (στάδιον), a measure of length equalling approximately 200 metres. The oldest known stadium is the one in Olympia, in the western Peloponnese, Greece, where the Olympic Games of antiquity were held since 776 BC. Initially 'the Games' consisted of a single event, a sprint along the length of the stadium. Therefore the length of Olympia's stadium became somewhat of a standard measure of distance.
A Roman stadium was slightly smaller, a distance of 125 passus (double-paces), equal to about 185 meters or 607 feet. The English use of stadium comes from the tiered infrastructure surrounding a Roman track of such length. Although most dictionaries provide for both "stadiums" and "stadia" as valid plurals, etymological sticklers sometimes apply "stadia" only to measures of length in excess of 1 stadium. (That the "stadium" measurement is used only in historical contexts perhaps explains the sustained use of the archaic plural.) Greek and Roman stadiums have been found in numerous ancient cities, perhaps the most famous being the Stadium of Domitian, in Rome.
The first stadium to be used in modern times, and the only one to be used during the 19th century, was the excavated and refurbished ancient Panathenaic stadium which has hosted Olympic Games in 1870, 1875, 1896, 1906, and 2004. The excavation and refurbishment of the stadium was part of the legacy of the Greek national benefactor Evangelis Zappas.
The Australian organizing committee for the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics incorrectly minted the image of the Colosseum arena of Rome on all the medals awarded to Olympic medal winners. The Colosseum has never hosted an Olympic Games.