The new words in the Olympic movement are all about “legacy.” After the financial disaster that was the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens that has left many of its venues in ill-kept shambles, a successful Olympic bid now includes plans for spaces after the IOC packs up and leaves town.
British Swimming has decided who will be the permanent tenant of its London Aquatics Centre that played host to the swimming portion of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
National Performance Director Alexei Evangulov said: “We are really pleased to have an HPC at the pool that was used for the Olympic Games and are excited about when the doors open in the spring.”
“The London Aquatics Centre is a fantastic facility with world class boards and dry land provision. A facility like this will help shape the next generation of athletes and allow them to see what an elite competition venue is like on a day-to-day basis.”
“The pool holds great memories for not only the British public but also our divers and all athletes that use this centre will have a small taste of the Olympics every time they walk through the door.”
The London Aquatics Centre has been significantly scaled back since the Games ended, though it is still a huge facility and one of the finest in the world. Gone are the iconic ‘wings’ that had the arena nicknamed ‘the Stingray’; those were temporary stands to bring the capacity to 17,500 for the Olympics. The facility’s capacity is being reduced to 2,500 and will open to the public in 2015. It still includes a 50-meter competition pool with a movable floor, a 50-meter warm-up pool, and a 25-meter diving pool, and will likely replace the Crystal Palace as London’s primary aquatic destination (though both will continue as important centerpieces in the growing British swimming interest – especially with rumors of a new indoor aquatics center for Crystal Palace).
Diving, like swimming, has received increased interest in the UK given recent international success. 19-year old Tom Daley is one of the country’s biggest sports stars (outside of soccer) since he won the 10-meter platform in 2009 at just 15 years old, upsetting Chinese star Qiu Bo.
The London Aquatics Centre has also been designated as the host of the pre-Olympic 2016 European Aquatics Championships.