14 young people from London’s Olympic host boroughs are shaping the future development and regeneration of Olympic Park by rafting the rapids at Lee Valley White Water Centre – the only brand new London 2012 venue open to the public ahead of the Games.

The young people, all members of the Legacy Youth Panel – a group established by the Olympic Park Legacy Company to contribute to the long term planning for Olympic Park and encourage other young people to get involved through youth events and school visits – hit the waves a year ahead of the Games.

The young people rafted the Olympic Standard Competition Course, tackling the same challenging, fast paced rapids the Olympians will use this time next year. Their experience will feed into legacy plans for sports venues on Olympic Park after the London 2012 Games.

Each year 30 young people (aged 13 – 21) are selected to form the Youth Panel from a competitive pool of candidates. By experiencing this brand new venue (open to the public since April 2011) the panel members saw first-hand what they can expect from other Olympic venues post Games.


Panel member Arfah Farooq, 20,  from Newham, said: 

“It was great fun and really exciting that we went on the Olympic course. I would recommend the Centre to everyone. It is a good example of how a commercial Olympic venue can work successfully. This is definitely something I will bring my friends and family back to experience!”

Emma Frost, Head of Communities and Business at the Olympic Park Legacy Company said:

“This was a fantastic experience for the Youth Panel, not only did they see a London 2012 venue in action but they saw how a venue can become a viable business in legacy.”

Lee Valley White Water Centre Manager, Simon Ricketts said:

“The Centre’s success has been phenomenal and yesterday we showed the Legacy Youth Panel members what makes this fantastic Centre a blueprint for other London 2012 venues.”

Lord Coe, Chair of London 2012 said:

“Lee Valley White Water Centre is a fantastic success story. The public are using it and the teams are training on it. It’s an elite level venue and also inspiring for youngsters to become the next generation of canoeists.”