The word stadium is derived from the Greek word ‘stade’ which was the distance run in the first ever Olympic event in 776 BC. A stade is 600 feet long and in Olympia (where they obviously had bigger feet than people have today) it was believed to measure approximately 192 metres.
The word stade also gave its name to the running race and it was the only event held at the first 13 Olympic games. It was only after this, that a race over 2 stades (the diaulos) was introduced when runners raced to one end of the track before turning round a post and returning back. It wasn’t then long before more events were introduced with races over longer distances and the pentathlon.
The Olympic Stadium for the London 2012 Olympics is in Stratford.