James Crook head and shouldersIt is one year to the day since Britain won their first ever Olympic slalom canoeing title, and took silver in the same event for good measure, and what better way to mark the occasion than by taking to the course where it all happened with the men that made it happen 365 days ago as the Games fever swept the nation.

Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie stormed to gold here at Lee Valley White Water Centre this time last year in the canoe slalom C2 as the only pair not to pick up any penalties on their way around the course, followed by compatriots Richard Hounslow and David Florence who made it a GB one-two and took the silver medal in what became GB Canoeing's most successful Olympic campaign.

I joined the Olympic stars as they launched two new white water activities at the centre - one of which I was lucky enough to try out - and revisited the podium they stood upon last summer.

"It's funny, I guess in some ways it's fairly undramatic, especially the way we arrived here this morning and it's raining," says Baillie on returning to the scene of the finest moment in his career on its anniversary.

"It's hard to picture the stands now compared to what is now a much more functional venue, there's people rafting, people just walking around and checking out the course, so yeah, it's cool to see that it's growing into what you hoped it would be, it was really crucial for our sport and it's a really good thing to see the venue being maximised, it would've been a real shame if it hadn't been as busy as it is, so it's cool to see it bustling. There's so much building and development work going on, it's really positive."

Lee Valley White Water Centre was the only London 2012 venue which was open to the public in the Olympic year, reopening on September 8 that year, less than a month after the Games concluded. This is believed to be the fastest ever post-Games opening of a newly-built venue in the modern Olympic era.

But work here is far from complete. A £6.3 million ($9.6 million/€7.3 million) development project kicked off in February this year, which will see the creation of a state-of-the-art gym facility and physiotherapy centre, meeting rooms and offices for the British Canoe Union (BCU), additional changing rooms, additional car parking and toilet facilities, an outdoor classroom and a new pavilion overlooking the course, but the facilities will remain open throughout the duration of the improvement work which is expected to be completed early next year.

149701510Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott became Britain's first Olympic slalom canoeing gold medallists one year ago today

As talk of the legacy of the London 2012 Games dominates headlines in the nation, Lee Valley White Water Centre is certainly one of the venues from the Games where you can see it in action. From work groups to school groups and elite performers to complete novices, there are people from all walks of life making use of the facilities in different ways. But what has inspired such success and so many people to try white water activities at the centre?

"I guess the [London 2012] performances probably help but really it's the venue and the incredible smart-thinking that was put into building the venue and making sure it was for the future and not just for one event, I think that's something that's not always been done that well in our sport at the Olympics," believes Baillie.

"The Athens [2004] venue had a few races through the next couple of years but now I think it's bordering derelict, the Beijing venue, it's hard to tell because I haven't actually visited it again but it seems like it's not been run certainly for any races and I haven't heard of any training going on there.

"It [Lee Valley White Water Centre] was such a well-thought out thing, it was all planned so that it could hold the Olympics and then become what the people wanted it to be, and that's a really sensible, good, functioning venue for many groups of users, people from the very elite end - like the GB Canoeing senior programme which is based here - and then it's very easy for kids to come and have a shot or people that have never rafted or experienced white water before."

Baillie's team-mate Stott added: "A year ago today we were coming down with our minds focused on the semi-final and getting through to the Olympic final and today it's bustling, there's rafts on, we're about to go hydrospeeding - the new activity they've introduced here - there's the youth programme that's set up here, the Olympic senior programme set up here, massive progress has been made and it's just amazing to see the difference in one year. It's gone past so fast it's incredible."

Lee-Valley-White-Water-CentreLee Valley White Water Centre is undergoing a £6.3 million ($9.6 million/€7.3 million) redevelopment

Hydrospeeding is one of the two new activities available to the public at the centre, and this is what I was here to take part in, along with Baillie and Hounslow, as I once again took myself out of my comfort zone in the name of insidethegames.

Hydrospeeding requires you to navigate your way through the Legacy Loop rapids with a bodyboard-style float. As those of you who are familiar with my experience on the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow earlier this year are aware, I'm not the greatest at handling the occasion when it comes to taking part in such adrenaline-rushing sports, and I was fairly certain that I would completely embarrass myself somehow in this one, a la riding round the flat part of a velodrome track for half an hour whilst clenching my handlebars as if I were hanging from a cliff's edge.

But other than having to wear a wetsuit that was rather unflattering for someone of my awkward body shape, it became very easy to embrace this activity. After some time getting used to the float and getting some tips from the coaches, we went for the white water rapids. Surfing through the rapids was a pretty unique and exhilarating experience but was deceivingly physically demanding at the same time.

It seemed to be pretty simple at first to get the hang of, but during the slalom competition at the end of the session it became a lot more of a challenge to navigate the float and combat the rapids, and I certainly felt the burn on my legs after attempting to furiously paddle against the current. Even the Olympic champion Baillie was having problems navigating the slalom, though of course he was in slightly different circumstances than he was when he flawlessly navigated the Olympic course this time last year.

His team-mate Stott was on the sidelines for the hydrospeeding after picking up a shoulder injury, which forced he and Baillie to withdraw from the British squad for the 2013 season.

"With the schedule as it stands I'll be back on the water at the end of this year or maybe early in the new year depending on how it all goes," says Stott, "It's quite a significant operation and a long schedule, and obviously the longer it is the more possibility there is it can improve. Yes, it's going to be a long haul but it's one that has to be done."

BQG6rjFCAAA9KzHHydrospeeding is one of the two new activities available to the public at Lee Valley White Water Centre

So what's next for Baillie and Stott?

"We don't have a great deal to do right now as we've withdrawn from the team but that means we're going to have more time for legacy commitments," explains Stott.

"With the schools starting again in September, we'll try and visit a lot of schools and take part in anything we can do to try and promote our sport and promote the good feeling that started at the Games a year ago. We want to capitalise on that and grow the sport, for the benefit of the sport itself and for the country."

Hydrospeeding is available every Friday between 6pm and 7.30 pm, as are the new "Hot Dog" sessions, in which teams of two take on the rapids in hot dog-shaped inflatable kayaks, whilst new weekday offers have been introduced for white water rafting and £5 ($7.70/€5.75) introductory Go Canoeing sessions on the flat water lake have been added to the growing list of activities to encourage participation in paddle sports.

James Crook is a reporter for insidethegames. To follow him on Twitter click here.