Olympiapark in full use for first time since '72

Brett Wilhelm/ESPN

X Games will use a majority of the venues at Munich's Olympiapark for the first time since the 1972 Munich Olympics.

X Games Munich marks the first time since the 1972 Summer Olympic Games that nearly all of the Olympiapark venues have been fully used at the same time, according to Olympiapark manager Ralph Huber, who opened the festivities Wednesday.

"The X Games are in this regard the biggest event here since the Summer Olympic Games," he said, calling the X Games the next chapter in Olympiapark's impressive sports history.

Huber noted that his organizing committee got the news it had been selected for the X Games' global expansion in May 2012 just before celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Games of the XX Olympiad in August.

The Munich-based Freeride Mountain Bike Association was an instrumental piece of Munich's winning bid, and Mountain Bike Slopestyle makes its X Games debut on Sunday on a course built on Olympic Hill, also known as Trümmerberg, or Rubble Mountain. The hill originally was built from bombardment debris of the ruins of World War II, and the slopestyle course winds down to Olympic Lake, currently festooned with the Skateboard Vert ramp and the MegaRamp for the BMX and Skateboard Big Air competitions.

The former Olympic boxing arena, now known as the Olympiapark Munchen ice-sport center and home to the EHC Red Bull Munich ice hockey team, will host the Street League Skateboarding, Skateboard Park and BMX Park events.

Olympiastadion, the venue for the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies as well as track and field, equestrian, soccer and pentathalon events -- and later the memorial service for the Israeli athletes killed in the Munich massacre on Sept. 5, 1972 -- is now filled with dirt for the Moto X Freestyle and Enduro X events.

The Olympiahalle gymnastics venue -- now a world-class concert venue -- is also piled high with dirt this week to host the Moto X Best Whip, Speed and Style and Step Up events.

The striking event venues were designed in the 1960s by architects Frei Otto and Günther Behnisch and have since become iconic landmarks in Munich.

Munich, Barcelona and Foz do Iguaçu emerged from a group of finalists in 2012 to win three-year contracts to host the new events in the X Games' global expansion. Huber said he's already looking far beyond the terms of that contract and hopes to establish Olympiapark as a longtime home of the X Games.

"I am glad that 40 years after the Summer Games the Olympiapark will be once more the meeting point for the youth of the world," Huber said.

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