Like most stadiums, Atanasio Girardot is regularly used for two kinds of mass celebrations: sports and music. As you can tell from this aerial photo, it is also used on a daily basis for a wide variety of other kinds of recreational athletic activity. There are several swimming pools, baseball fields, soccer fields, indoor volleyball and basketball courts, and is home to active tennis leagues for all ages. Most of the facilities of this sprawling complex of sports are available at low or no cost through INDER, Medellin’s municipal sports and recreation department (that in reality, does so much more).
We’ll start from these three dimensions of life that happen in and around the stadium itself to show how music, sports, and a recreation department with a broad vision of what it means to provide city people with places to play do for a city.
Like most large South American cities, Medellín is home to two major football (soccer) teams, perennial bitter rivals, and most residents of the city are ardent fans of either Atletico Nacional (green) or Independiente Medellin (red). Also similar to most cities with rival soccer teams, one is associated with the middle class and up (red), the other with working people (green.) When the teams play each other at Atanasio Girardot Stadium, traffic backs up for hours and the cars can be heard honking after every GOOOOOOOOOOOL.
One of Medellin’s most famous soccer stories came by way of a hero named Escobar. A world-class athlete who died tragically but left a legacy not far from Atanasio Girardot Stadium.