With exactly one year to go until the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Aquatics Centre has become the fifth and final Olympic Park sports venue to be completed.
The Olympic Stadium, Velodrome, Handball Arena and Basketball Arena were completed earlier this year and, alongside the newly finished Aquatics Centre, will provide superb stages on which the world’s finest athletes will compete in 12 months’ time.
The completion of the Zaha Hadid-designed Aquatics Centre marks the culmination of a five-year construction project in the Olympic Park, which has transformed the East End of London and has been achieved on time and on budget.
The Olympic Park project also included construction of the International Broadcast Centre, and all six venues are now ready to be comprehensively tested before the Games start on 27 July 2012.
The Aquatics Centre, which will have a capacity of 17,500 during the London 2012 Olympic Games, will be unveiled later today when British Olympic hopeful Tom Daley makes the first dive into the pool.
After the Games, the capacity of the venue will be reduced to a maximum of 2,500, with the ability to add a further 1,000 seats for major events, and will provide a lasting legacy for use by both the local community and elite athletes, with two 50m swimming pools, a diving pool and a dry diving area.
“The Aquatics Centre will be a fantastic gateway to the Games in 2012 and a much-needed new community and elite sporting venue for the capital afterwards,” said John Armitt, Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which is responsible for the venues, infrastructure and legacy for the Games. “Five years ago, in July 2006, we published a delivery timetable which set out the ambitious target to complete the main venues a year before the Games. Today, with the completion of the sixth main permanent venue, I am proud to say that we have delivered on that commitment.
Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG), said: “With construction now complete on the Aquatics Centre, we are another step closer to the spectacular Olympic Park which will be host to world-class sport in 2012. And after the Games, the venue will become a much-needed swimming facility for London with community use at its heart, epitomising the spirit of London’s bid – a Games which would bring lasting change and encourage people to choose sport. Everyone involved can be very proud of this venue and the progress of the Olympic Park as a whole. I congratulate the ODA and their teams who have done a fantastic job.”