The National Stadium was inaugurated on December 3, 1938. That story is well known. What few know is that for its opening the venue located today in the district of Ñuñoa experienced a sports festival that lasted 11 days, with amateur football matches (the first football match was between Pedro de Valdivia and Valdivia teams) , professional soccer (Colo Colo vs Sao Cristovao, from Brazil), presentations by physical education students, the national athletics, cycling, hockey, boxing and even motorcycling championships.
A very multi-sports party, just as it will be lived in Santiago from October 20, 2023 for the Pan American and Para Pan American Games, and that will mark another great milestone in the extensive history of the National Stadium.
The desire to have a "stadium" for the development of physical activity was a desire of national athletes since the beginning of the 20th century. Several projects were evaluated, others fell, until in the 1930s the Caja de Seguro Obrero ceded the land of the Lo Valdivieso farm, south of the Campos de Deporte, to build the Great Stadium.
The works began in February 1937 and the inauguration was led by President Arturo Alessandri Palma in December of the following year.
Since then, the National Stadium has become an icon of the city and the largest sports center in the country, since the World Cups of Football (1962) and Basketball (1959) were played there; the Youth Football (1987) and Athletics World Cups (2000); several South American tournament of football and athletics; finals of the Copa Libertadores de América and the Copa Sudamericana, and a fight for the world boxing title.
The passing of the years and the sporting needs of the venue have forced various changes. For the 1962 World Cup, the velodrome in the lower ring was eliminated with the aim of increasing the capacity of the venue to 70 thousand people. Then in 1967 the four lighting towers were built.
On the occasion of the 1987 Youth World Cup, the electronic board was installed and in 2010 the central coliseum reopened its doors after a remodeling that involved lowering the capacity and installing individual seats throughout the venue.
Now, for the Pan American and Para Pan American Games, the National Stadium will experience another historical change with the park and the new venues that will be built on its 62 hectares.
By 2023, the Sports Park located between Grecia, Pedro de Valdivia, Guillermo Mann and Marathon, will have nine venues: the Central Coliseum, the Aquatic Center, the Sports Center, the new arena that will be tendered (it will be built on the old velodrome), the Mario Recordón Stadium for athletics, the Training Center for Contact Sports, the Field Hockey Stadium, the Paralympic Training Center and the House of Rackets. In addition, several fields, multi-fields and a recreational stadium for baseball will also be available for the community.
The new design will allow the National Stadium Park to become an excellent alternative for the community when it comes to sports, even if you are just looking to go jogging or cycling.
In this way, the dream that the team led by Ricardo Müller designed for the Lo Valdivieso farm more than 80 years ago will be modernized and perfected.
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