The Olimpiysky National Sports Complex (also known as Olympic Stadium, Republican Stadium or Central Stadium; Національний спортивний комплекс "Олімпійський", Natsional’nyĭ sportyvnyĭ kompleks "Olimpiys'kyĭ") is a multi-use sports facility in Kiev, Ukraine, located on the slopes of city's central Cherepanov Hill. The stadium is the premier sports venue of Ukraine and one of the world's largest. The complex also features several other sports facilities. The stadium is also expected to host the final match of Euro 2012.
As chaos gave way to stability in the early 1920s, the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic was moved to Kharkiv and Kiev ended up with the status of Guberniya center. Construction resumed under the leadership of engineer L. I. Pilvinsky in early 1923, to host the Second All-Ukrainian Olympic games to be held in August of that year. The chosen site was the former location of the 1913 All-Russian exhibition, the war-ravaged lot of the Alekseevsky park.
Many mistakes were made due to the rushed construction. In particular, the stadium was aligned along an east-west axis instead of the standard north-south. So in 1934, as the Ukrainian capital was restored to Kiev, plans were made for a replacement, and in 1936 construction began on a new 50,000-seat stadium by architect M. I. Grychyna.
The complex was scheduled for completion in 1941 and the ceremonial opening was scheduled for June 22, 1941. However, in a monumental twist of history, on that very day Kiev was bombed by the Luftwaffe as part of the Nazi invasion to the Soviet Union, the onset of the Great Patriotic War. The opening ceremony was not canceled, however: a sign hung on the stadium gates optimistically indicated that it was merely "postponed until after the victory". And indeed, following the 1945 Soviet Victory over Nazi Germany, not only was the stadium reconstructed, but tickets issued in 1941 were honored for admittance to an opening ceremony of the Stalin Respublikanskiy (Republican) Stadium in 1948, as it was named.
A period of political de-Stalinization throughout the Soviet Union followed Joseph Stalin's death in 1953, and the stadium was renamed after Nikita Khrushchev. As the city boomed in the post-war years and its population approached two million, the stadium underwent another major reconstruction in the mid-1960s. In 1966–68 the Kiev Central Stadium, as it was then called, was enlarged to accommodate 100,000 spectators with the addition of a second tier of seating. The expanded complex also included indoor tennis courts, two additional football pitches, several outdoor courts and other arenas, and notably a ski jumping ramp of a rather novel suspended design.
The new stadium served the city until 1978, when it underwent a new cycle of complete reconstruction, to accommodate the 1980 Summer Olympics, to be hosted by Soviet Union. It was renamed, yet again, as the Republican V.I. Lenin Stadium, which title would gratefully remain above ideological disputes until the Collapse of the Soviet Union. It hosted the local ceremony of the Grand Opening of the 1980 Olympics followed by several football matches (the final games were held in the official host city, Moscow).
After Ukrainian independence in 1991, the stadium was given national status in 1996 and renamed again as the National Sports Complex "Olimpiys’ky" ('Olympic'). Kievans still commonly refer to it as the Tsentralny (Central) or Respublykanskyi stadion (Republican Stadium), and the nearby metro station is also called Respublykanskyi Stadion.
In 1997–99 the stadium was reconstructed again in accordance to FIFA guidelines, and its capacity reduced to 83,450. The stadium is currently used primarily for football matches, including international and high-profile home games of FC Dynamo Kyiv in the Ukrainian Premier League, when a high turnout is expected. However, it is not the official home ground of Dynamo or any other Kiev club, as they all have smaller home stadiums and training bases. The stadium is an official home ground of the Ukraine national football team.
On 18 April 2007, Poland and Ukraine were chosen to co-host Euro 2012, the finals of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, with the Olimpiysky set to host the final. There are plans to refurbish the stadium for the tournament – a roof is expected to be built and the capacity decreased to 83,300.