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Fourth-Place Medal

It’s a wrap: London’s Olympic Stadium brings back exterior cover

London's Olympic Stadium will be wrapped up after all.

Original plans to surround the main site of next summer's Olympics in a cloth-like material were scrapped last year to save on the $11.4 million cost. It was announced Thursday that Dow Chemical will be funding and providing a new design that will place 336 individual curtains around the stadium.

The original plan called for a wrap around the outside of the stadium that would be able to display mosaics, graphics, colors and images of athletes. Organizers hoped it would become an iconic image of the 2012 Games, but the plan was controversially scrapped last year because of its hefty cost to the taxpayers:

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london olympic stadium cloth

Once the wrap was canceled, the exterior of the stadium was going to look like this, industrial Charlie Brown triangles and all:

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olympic stadium london aerial jul11

Critics thought the stadium would look too cold and uninviting without any exterior display and it's hard to argue. The picture above looks like it could be the outside of any stadium in the world. Not every venue has to be the Bird's Nest. It's nice to have some defining characteristic, though.

The private sector jumped in to rescue the stadium aesthetics. Dow Chemical will design the new curtain-like coverings as part of an indirect advertising push. Per Olympic rules the Michigan-based company can't put its name on the covering. It's thought that the prestige involved in funding and creating the 25-meter individual coverings will be a benefit to the "official chemistry company of the Olympic movement."

Initial sketches of the installation were released Thursday. The panels will go up beginning next spring.

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How does The Shark's Mouth sound for a stadium nickname?

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