Since the triathlon was first introduced to the Summer Olympics in Sydney 2000 a total of 110 athletes have competed, providing six gold medals to six different countries. The popularity of triathlons has been growing for a number of years, with British Triathlon stating at the end of last year that it is the fastest growing sport in the UK. This was no doubt helped with the Brownlee brothers finishing in Gold and Bronze medal positions at London 2012.
The London 2012 triathlon, and marathon swim, were held in Hyde Park with the first leg of the race – the swim – involving a lap of the Serpentine Lake at the park’s centre. The Serpentine is a forty acre recreational lake that was created in 1730 by damming the River Westbourne, at the request of Queen Caroline of Ansbach. It has a rich history that includes the Peter Pan Cup, an annual 100 yard swim organised by the Serpentine Swimming Club that has run annually on Christmas morning since 1864.
During preparation for the Olympic games a 3,000 capacity temporary seating area was built overlooking the lake, along with a large pontoon area that acted as the starting platform for the triathlon. Due to Hyde Park being one of the eight Royal Parks in London it has strict access regulations for any work conducted within it. However, CSD were selected to conduct the diving operations during the set up for the games.
These included surveying the areas around the triathlon and marathon swim entry points and the slipway exit, to ensure no hazards were present, as well as installing and uninstalling the slipway exit ramp itself. A scaffolding framework was first assembled and secured to the pontoon before the ramp panels themselves were secured. This was achieved using a combination of surface swimming and surface supply (SDDE) diving, all work was successfully completed within the proposed time frames and to the satisfaction of the games organisers.