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Britain to Build 14 New 50-meter Pools -- February 3, 2004

LONDON, February 3. BRITAIN'S swimmers are in line for a massive sporting legacy if London wins its bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, according to a story by Hugh Muir in today's Guardian.

Plans are in hand for 14 Olympic-standard 50-metre pools to be erected around London for use as practice facilities by the competitors. It is hoped the pools can be constructed in such a way so that, after the Games, they can be easily dismantled and relocated to other parts of Britain.

Olympic competition itself would be held in a new aquacentre earmarked for Stratford in east London, which will be built irrespective of whether the bid is successful. Its construction must begin before the final decision on the Games is made if the complex is to be finished in time.

But if the bid is successful, the need for practice pools would be acute. The pools will need to be close to the Olympic village at the outset because London has made great play of its compact master plan, with the vast majority of the events and facilities based in the Lower Lea Valley in east London.

A source close to the discussions said officials have yet to decide how many pools will be needed, adding: "But it will be a large number. The plans are evolving all the time."

Though the London bidders hope to persuade the International Olympic Committee with promises of lavish facilities, they will also promote its environmental sustainability.

Yesterday senior officials from the bid company, London 2012, outlined their strategy for ensuring that there is a desirable legacy in terms of jobs, the ecology and the sustainable development.

The main tool for the greening of the London Olympics would be the development of the River Lea itself and the surrounding land.

Strategists plan to revitalize the river and its systems of canals. By relocating much of the industry and restoring the flood plains, they hope to return the river to its original condition of 150 years ago.

The Olympic park would be built within areas of enhanced green space and waterways. Buildings would be energy efficient and transport would utilize the latest green technology.

The Olympics and the Paralympics in London would, it is said, generate 12,000 on-site jobs and eventually deliver around 9,400 homes.