Gymnast in the 1972 Munich Olympics Yvonne Arnold took her skills to Bexley where, with her husband, she set up the Europa Gym with dance, boxing and martial arts.
When the rent and costs of running the gym in its old factory space grew too high she and Len sold their home and moved in above. Seb Coe nominated Len as an Olympic torch bearer for this dedication and ‘sacrifice’.
Their £4.2m gym, designed by Formation Architects, was inaugurated by London Mayor Boris Johnson earlier this week. A section 106 agreement with Barratt and an unexpected £1.5m slice of Olympic funding secured them this new building of their own. In return the Centre will be used for volleyball practice for the Olympics and Paralympics.
Formation Architects, which are also working on the 200 plus Barratt homes next door, designed the building to be as inexpensive as possible. The long span steel frame and insulated panels of large-scale warehouses has been jazzed up with coloured glass. It is this sort of simple building, with an established local base, that has the best chance of Olympic legacy success.
The gym is decanting slowly into the new building awaiting the end of Olympic activity for its big move.