London 2012 has opened its first brand new venue for the 2012 Games. The Lee Valley White Water Centre, which was officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal, will host the canoe slalom events in 2012. Speaking at the opening, Campbell Walsh – Olympic silver medallist in canoe slalom – said, “It’s hugely exciting to test the rapids at the new Lee Valley White Water Centre for the first time. The course looks great and I'm sure it will make a spectacle of a race for the Olympic Games.”
The new venue is located in the heart of the 10,000-acre Lee Valley Regional Park, on a site covering the equivalent of 25 full-size football pitches. The facilities include an Olympic standard 300m competition course, with a boat conveyor to transport participants to the course start in their rafts or canoes; a 160m intermediate/training course; a 10,000m2 finish lake; a facility building and pumping house containing a café, changing rooms and spectator viewing facilities; and world-class white water conditions.
Power of the Games
Commenting on the opening of the new facility, London 2012 Chairman Seb Coe said, “This is another great story. Our vision has always been to use the power of the Games to inspire change and this is another world-class venue that would not have been built without Britain staging the Games. With the centre open to the public both before and after the thrilling action at Games-time, it really does demonstrate the great legacy that London 2012 will leave for users from elite athletes to kids from local communities.”
A Legacy Before and After the Games
The White Water Centre will be used for Games training and testing in early 2011, with it opening to the public for rafting and canoeing in April 2011. This will provide the public with an opportunity to use the new venue before the Olympic athletes take to the course in earnest in 2012. In legacy, the temporary spectator seating will be removed and the venue will be developed into a major leisure attraction for canoeing and white water rafting, as well as a venue for future international competition and sport development opportunities.
London was elected as the host city for the Games of the XXX Olympiad on 6 July 2005 at the 117th IOC Session in Singapore. London eventually succeeded in the fourth round of voting taking 54 votes from a possible 104. London faced stiff opposition during the vote from the other four candidate cities: Paris, New York, Moscow and Madrid. There will be 26 sports on the Olympic Programme in London in 2012 and around 10,500 athletes.