THE latest team of Olympic stars have been making a splash in Sheffield - as council bosses revealed pre-London 2012 training camps have brought £19 million to the city’s economy.
Members of the USA diving team have been honing their skills at Ponds Forge before the Olympic qualification event in the capital next week - the squad’s last chance to get into top shape.
As well as taking the plunge in the city centre pool, the team has been taking time out of a high pressure training schedule to coach local children from Sheffield Council’s Diving Training Scheme.
The USA diving team has trained in Sheffield several times before while in the city for the FINA Diving World Series.
USA diver Troy Dumais, said: “It’s great to be back in Sheffield.
“Next week we’ll be in London competing for qualifying spots to the Olympics so it’s vitally important to be at the top of our game.
“We have everything we need here in Sheffield to give us the best chance.”
As well as the US diving team, the Serbian Olympic team and the Brazilian judo team have also chosen the city as their pre-Olympic base.
Paralympic nations have also signed up, including the Canadian wheelchair basketball team and the Slovakian Paralympic table tennis squad.
Ben Brailsford, 2012 delivery manager at Sheffield Council, said: “A city like Sheffield is proactively promoting its services and facilities out to big teams such as USA and Brazil because we’re used to having a lot of international sport here.
“Sheffield has had about £19m worth of economic benefit from Olympic related activity over the last few years.
“We’ve got lots of teams coming in to the city so we’re certainly going to see more economic value going into our facilities, into hotels, restaurants and shops.”
Steve Brailey, chief executive at Sheffield International Venues, which manages Ponds Forge, said: “We are really pleased to welcome the US diving team to Ponds Forge for their first Olympic training camp.
“It is great international recognition of the quality of our world-class facilities.
“This will continue to project Sheffield into the sporting spotlight in the run up to the Olympic Games.”
Coun Helen Mirfin-Boukouris, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for business, jobs and growth, said she was ‘delighted’ the team had chosen to come to Sheffield.
She added: “I would like to personally thank the team for taking the time to coach some of our young Sheffield diving talent whilst in the city.
“I appreciate this is a vitally important time for the squad, and it speaks volumes that they are happy to spend time inspiring the next generation.”