Olympic Flame on the water
Amid swirling waves and gushing water around 2,000 spectators watched the Olympic Flame ride the rapids at Lee Valley White Water Centre on 7 July where the Olympic Canoe Slalom Competition will take place between 29 July and 2 August.
The Flame was held by future Olympic canoeist hopeful Zachary Franklin, who was propelled down the course by the British men’s rafting team led by Pas Blackwell, who is also assistant manager at the centre. After initially extinguishing, the Flame was relit from the mother Flame, which is from the original Olympic Torch in Greece and is kept in a specially designed miner’s lantern which accompanies the Torch on its tour of Great Britain. It successfully completed its journey down the course second time around.
On 8 September, a day before the end of the Paralympic Games the centre will become the first London 2012 venue to reopen to the public, signalling the start of £4 million of enhancement work to further increase its ability to deliver a legacy. The work will include constructing a new pavilion, changing room facilities, landscaping work and increasing catering provisions. A new regional headquarters for the British Canoe Union will also be constructed.
The reopening will also mark the start of the Authority’s five year legacy plan for the venue. The first project to get underway this year will be a social inclusion project aimed at engaging hard to reach young people and those at risk of offending from communities located around the venue. A canoe slalom discipline coach education course will also run in October. The Authority is also working closely with local educational institutions to support the creation of university and paddlesports clubs. Plans are in place for students to start using the venue on a regular basis in early 2013.
Since April 2011, when it became the first brand new London 2012 venue to open to the public, Lee Valley White Water Centre has been evidence of legacy in action. It staged two successful Schools Festivals, giving pupils from every single London borough and every district of Essex and Hertfordshire the chance to white water raft for free. The centre has exceeded all income targets, attracting 155,000 visitors over 40,000 of whom took part in rafting or paddle sports. We are determined to build on this good work and ensure that the centre delivers a legacy long after 2012.