University Olympic Stadium (Estadio Olímpico Universitario)

Photo: RunningToddler on Wikimedia Commons


The University Olympic Stadium (Estadio Olímpico Universitario) dates from 1952. A multi-purpose sports venue, it’s part of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The design was the work of architects Augusto Pérez Palacios, Jorge Bravo and Raúl Salinas Moro. The second largest stadium in the country, the capacity is for 72,000 spectators. It was the main venue for the 1968 Olympic Games, hosting the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the athletics competitions.

To this day, it’s the only Olympic stadium within an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The Ciudad Universitaria (CU) was so declared in 2007. Architect Augusto Pérez Palacios is said to have carefully studied other stadiums, such as those in Berlin, Florence, and Rome stadiums.

The stadium is in a hollow of the Pedregal de San Ángel.. More than 10,000 workers participated in the project, many in shifts working 24 hours a day. It was built in just eight months. The artist Diego Rivera headed the creation of the mural, La universidad, la familia y el deporte en México. This, however, was unfinished when he died in 1957. Today it faces the Avenida Insurgentes Sur, just to the east. The website of the Pumas football club, linked below, includes numerous historical photos of the stadium.

Known at the time as the University Stadium, it was a futuristic vision of sports with the most modern technological advances of the time. When it opened on November 20, 1952 it was for National Youth Games.  Over the years, the University Olympic Stadium has hosted dozens of the most important football matches in the hemisphere. With the 1968 Olympics and the 1986 World Cup, it’s one of the true landmarks of City sports history.


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