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Steps and square of success for Olympic heroes on Portland
2:30pm Friday 22nd February 2013 in News
Gold medal winning sailors Helena Lucas and Ben Ainslie were celebrated at the new Officer’s Field development on the Isle this morning with areas named after them.
The development was used as the athlete’s village for both the Olympics and Paralympics.
Helena Lucas Steps celebrates the victory of the Fortuneswell resident in the 2.4mR keelboat class and Ben Ainslie Square was dedicated to the four-time gold medallist.
The steps link the upper and lower field of the development and were unveiled by the gold medallist herself, who said it was a ‘real honour’ to have the steps named after her.
She said: “It’s a really nice gesture to have the steps named after me in the Paralympic and Olympic village.
“It’s a nice reminder of the achievements of the year.”
She joked that it did feel a ‘bit surreal.’ Helena said it was a ‘real honour’ to have it was a reminder of the summer of 2012. She added that the support she and Ben got from the home crowds and locals ‘really helped us to win these gold medals.’ Helena said she had recently watched some footage from the medal podium in the summer that she had never seen before.
She said: “That was really weird. It was like relieving it again and the memories came flooding back.
“It was a nice reminder.”
She added: “We are now so focused on Rio, it’s easy to forget what you have achieved. It was nice to look at the footage. It was a reminder of what an amazing year it has been.”
Helena received a cheque on behalf of Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy from developers ZeroC, who have donated £5,000 to the sail for Gold regatta at the academy.
Managing Director of ZeroC Kim Slowe said that the development had been ‘very successful’ and that people had started to move into the development.
He said there was ‘no better place’ to honour the achievements of the two ‘amazing athletes.’ Mr Slowe said: “We are extremely lucky in Weymouth and Portland to have an absolutely world class sailing facility in Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.”
He added: “The important thing is to continue to make sure it stays has a centre of excellence.”
Chief Executive of the sailing academy John Tweed said that ZeroC were strong supporters of community sailing locally.
He said the steps and square were great.
Mr Tweed said: “I think it’s a great tribute to our Olympic heroes.”