22 February, 2011

2012 Olympics: First Olympic venue is fully completed and records are predicted to fall:

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Great Britain's cycling team gave the finished Olympic track a test run
The velo - drome having maybe the world’s fastest cycling track with a “wall of sound” became the first venue at the Olympic park officially to be opened yesterday.
The 6,000-seat arena is designed so that the bleached Siberian pine track is continuously surrounded by the spectator concourse.
Dave Brailsford, the British Cycling performance director, said that the proximity of the crowd was unique in track cycling. “With people standing all around it really is going to be a wall of noise,” he said. “You expect records at Olympics and then there is the combination of a great venue. It’s super.”
It took 26 carpenters 18 weeks to lay the cycling track
Sir Chris Hoy, who won three gold medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, had some input into the velod rome’s design — specifically that there be an in-field toilet to cater for pre-race nerves.
Hoy expects some “special performances” after completing several test laps alongside nine of his Great Britain team-mates in front of a select crowd of VIPs and children. He said: “It feels very fast, nice and smooth. I would imagine, particularly in the team pursuit events, world records going.”
The stadium is so new that some of the seats are still under wraps
However, after the inter national federation limited each country to one cyclist per discipline and removed two events at which Britain won gold in 2008, there was a renewed warning not to expect a repeat of Beijing, where Britain won seven out of the ten gold medals available on the track. “It’s very difficult to see how we could do that again,” Brailsford said. “The world’s changed and we have a fight on our hands.”
The velodrome is expected to be an iconic venue of the Games. It is a photogenic building, with its sweeping external lines mirroring the curves of the track within, and western red cedar cladding treated with two coats of environmentally friendly rhubarb juice.
A team of 26 carpenters took eight weeks to install the track, made of 35 miles of timber fixed into place with more than 350,000 nails.
The £94 million Velopark, which will include a 300-metre BMX track, due to be finished in the summer, is expected to be delivered on budget.
Lord Coe, the chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, said it was a “stunning venue built for champions”.
The cycling track is now in the hands of Olympic organisers
Saying that cycling is the “hot ticket” of the Games, he admitted that organisers could sell out the 6,000 capacity several times over but that the venue had been built with its postLondon 2012 use in mind. After the Games, it will be operated by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority as an elite training and community facility, including a bike rental and repair workshop. Shaun Dawson, the chief executive, said that the authority expected about 250,000 visitors a year from 2013, when a road-cycle circuit and mountain-bike track will be added.
Even taking into account naming rights, however, it will require a public subsidy of up to £500,000 a year.
It could host World Cup events but British Cycling will not decamp from its headquarters at the Manchester Velodrome, to which it is financially committed as a legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
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