Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 11:53 UK

Olympiad backs sports centre plan

Robin Cousins
Cousins opened the centre which bears his name 25 years ago

Olympic figure-skater Robin Cousins has backed a campaign to reopen a Bristol sports centre named after him.

The not-for-profit group, North Bristol Community Initiative, is hoping to take over the facility in Avonmouth, which closed two years ago.

An online petition has also been started on the city council website.

Gold-medallist Cousins, 50, who is from Bristol, said: "I am very happy to hear that there is a campaign to re-open the sports centre that bears my name."

"I know it has stood empty for two years or so and feel at a time when sport and exercise is very much in the headlines, the timing couldn't be better," he added.

Overwhelming response

"If the work can be done and the efforts of the campaign rewarded I would like to think the centre will give the local community somewhere they can be proud to call their own and it may find itself once again being used by families and sports enthusiasts, as it was when I opened it 25 years ago."

Cousins won the World Free Skating Championship gold medal three times and sealed his amateur ice-skating career by winning European Championship gold and taking the Olympic title at Lake Placid in 1980.

After retiring from the sport in 2000, he turned to the stage and appeared in several West End shows and television ice spectaculars.

... people in Avonmouth and Shirehampton have waited long enough to get their much needed sports facilities back
Charlotte Leslie, Conservative PPC, Bristol North West

He has also been a regular guest presenter and commentator for BBC TV.

The Robin Cousins Centre, which housed a sports hall, gym and squash courts, was closed in January 2006 by the council which said it failed to attract enough visitors to make it financially viable.

The online petition to reopen it was started by Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Bristol North West, Charlotte Leslie, who has also delivered 5,000 survey leaflets and petition sheets to local residents.

"I have been overwhelmed by the reaction to my survey, she said.

"The responses show that people in Avonmouth and Shirehampton have waited long enough to get their much needed sports facilities back. They want some action."

The Highways Agency has been in talks with Bristol City Council over an access road to the site.

Possible reprieve for city pool
11 Oct 05 |  Bristol

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Bristol Evening Post Bristol City Council deal could revive Robin Cousins sports hall - 49 hrs ago

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