By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

August 30 - Steve Foley, the High Performance Director for USA Diving, has revealed that they chose Sheffield for its pre-London 2012 Olympic training camp following an extensive search of the UK and Europe.

Following 18 months of talks with representatives from Sheffield, USA Diving announced the city as the ideal location for their Olympic athletes to train.

The US divers will be based in Sheffield using the world class facilities at Sheffield International Venues (SIV) managed Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield over the next two years whilst preparing for the Games.

Diving is the first US squad to be based in Sheffield for international training camps and discussions will continue to take place with other American teams to base themselves here.

This is the second Olympic nation to choose Sheffield as a base, following the announcement in May 2008 that the Serbian Olympic squad had chosen Sheffield and Leeds for their pre-games training camp base.

Foley, the performance director of British Diving before leaving in September 2008, is confident that the deal will be beneficial to both parties.

He said: "USA Diving is extremely excited to name Sheffield as their pre London 2012 training site.

"Many venues within the UK and also throughout Europe were carefully considered but in the end, the outstanding facilities of Ponds Forge and the English Institute of Sport, plus excellent hotels and the superb location for easy commute to and from London were the determining factors.

"I am grateful to Sheffield for all their hard work and support in assisting this to happen and I look forward to returning to a place that holds many fabulous memories for me."

The first diving training camp is expected to take place at Ponds Forge in Sheffield in February 2012 as USA Diving prepare for the FINA Diving World Cup.

Ponds Forge is one the most established diving high performance centres in the UK and US Diving also hope to use the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds for some of their sessions.

Paul Scriven, the Leader of Sheffield City Council said: "We are delighted that Team USA will join us in Sheffield.

"There’s been a great deal of hard work gone into attracting US Diving to Sheffield, but it’s all been an excellent investment. 

"Sheffield’s economy will grow as a direct result of hosting this team, generating tens of thousands of pounds into the city.  Sheffielders can be proud that such a high profile sporting nation will be here in their city training for 2012.

"This will also be a chance for local people to get more involved and get excited about the London 2012 Games, so we will be encouraging the US divers to get involved with local people and with life here and enjoy what Sheffield has to offer."

American divers have won a total of 131 medals, including 48 gold, in the history of the Olympics.

But their last medal came at Sydney in 2000 when Laura Wilkinson won a gold medal in the 10 metre platform.

Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012, who was brought up in Sheffield, said: "This is great news for Sheffield. I am sure that the USA Diving team will be provided with a very warm welcome and that they will enjoy training and acclimatising at Ponds Forge.

"As a former competitor I’m very aware of the importance of preparing well and the excellent facilities on offer should provide the athletes with a great setting in which to prepare for London 2012.

"It is a great way for Sheffield to feel real benefits of the London 2012 Olympic Games and to get involved."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
August 2010:
 US announce pre-London 2012 training camp deals
June 2010: Japanese women's volleyball team visit Sheffield
September 2009: China open talks with Sheffield about 2012 pre-Olympic training camp
May 2009: Serbia head to Yorkshire for London 2012