December 11 - London 2012 venue Lee Valley White Water Centre has become the official home to a host of Britain's top canoeists, including newly crowned double world champion and two-times Olympic medallist David Florence.
"We're delighted to welcome GB Canoeing's athletes and staff into the newly completed facilities at our world class centre," said Lee Valley Regional Park Authority chief executive Shaun Dawson.
"This is a major milestone in Lee Valley White Water Centre's £6.3 million ($10.3 million/€7.7 million) development work which is now nearing completion and having GB Canoeing based at this award winning venue is an integral part of the Games' sporting legacy."
As well as serving as a base for GB Canoeing's athletes and management, the offices and state of the art gym and physiotherapy suite, which have been built as part of the centre's £6.3 million ($10.3 million/€7.7 million) development work, will also benefit the local community and water sport clubs.
"GB Canoeing have enjoyed a successful year after a phenomenal medal winning performance during London 2012," added Dawson.
"Their legacy programme is encouraging many new paddlers who have been inspired by success at elite level to participate in the sport and we hope these new facilities will help them continue this success."
Development of the centre began in February this year and included the construction of a new pavilion, additional changing rooms, more car parking and state-of-the-art support facilities for elite athletes.
GB Canoeing, Canoe England and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority are working together to capitalise on the new facility by creating a canoe club at the centre which will strengthen the impact of the London 2012 legacy across all disciplines of the sport.
"What we have at Lee Valley White Water Centre today is exactly what Lord Coe envisaged in 2005 when he spoke to the IOC of fulfilling the legacy from the London Olympic Games," said Andy Maddock, GB Canoeing's programmes director.
"This centre is the result of eight years of hard work which will enable us to develop the next phase of the London 2012 legacy.
"It is a home both for our athletes as they prepare for the Rio 2016 Games and for the next generation of GB Olympic athletes and participants in the diverse sport of canoeing.
"These athletes now have a state of the art facility encompassing a gym, flat water, white water and an office base all one site, which I know will support them in maximising their potential."
The centre has welcomed over 210,000 visitors through its door since opening in 2011 with 68,000 people having rafted and over 25,000 participants having tried canoeing or kayaking.
The development work, which has been funded by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, British Canoe Union and Sport England, is expected to be completed early in 2014.
"The popularity of Lee Valley White Water Centre has continued to grow beyond all our expectations," said Charles Johnston, property director at Sport England.
"The chance to paddle down the same course as Olympic gold medallists has inspired tens of thousands of people to try out canoeing and rafting, keeping the magic of London 2012 alive.
"I am delighted that the work carried out at the centre has made this possible and helped our Olympic heroes find a new home."
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