London fended off competition from the Qatari capital of Doha to earn the right to host the World Athletics Championships in 2017.
The council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) voted in favour of London following final presentations from both cities in Monaco on Friday.
Sebastian Coe, the IAAF vice president and London 2012 chairman, led London's presentation and the decision fulfils his 2005 promise that the Olympic Stadium would have an enduring athletics legacy.
London's presentation also featured contributions from the sports and Olympics minister Hugh Robertson, London's mayor Boris Johnson, former Olympic heptathlon champion Denise Lewis and world junior champion Jodie Williams.
Williams, 18, could be at her peak in 2017 and said that her "ultimate dream" is to compete for a senior world title on home soil.
The news comes as a major relief to UK Athletics officials after previous bids to stage the championships ended in failure.
A bid for the 2001 world championships had to be abandoned after initial plans for an athletics track to be included in the redevelopment of Wembley Stadium were scrapped.
London was awarded the 2005 championships after Tony Blair, the former prime minister, promised a new stadium in north London would be built to host them. But they were taken away after the government went back on its promise and were given to Helsinki, instead, while the 2011 bid was withdrawn due to uncertainty surrounding the future of the Olympic Stadium.
Coe said: "It's a great, great result and it's down to the clarity of the message that [the UK Athletics chairman] Ed Warner and the team have been working on.
"The maintenance of the track-and-field legacy was absolutely crucial.
"It was very important for us not to get spooked by inducements [from Doha] and just to make sure that people understood in London we have the stadium stuffed to the gunnels with people who look like they want to be there and know why they want to be there."
Johnson said that hosting the championships would help ensure the Olympic Stadium will have a "long and active life".
He added: "With the 2017 championships now in the diary, next summer's London Games is just the start of a long and active life for our magnificent stadium.
"In addition to athletics it will host a variety of sports competitions, including football, as well as a range of other events from major concerts to community activities."
David Cameron, the prime minister, vowed to make the championships "the most successful ever". He said: "This is great news both for London and the whole country. There is no better way to follow the Olympics, and to build on its legacy, than by welcoming the world's greatest athletes back to London for the 2017 World Championships."