Record Olympian Ian Thorpe celebrates the 50th adiZone in Hackney, London - an innovative community initiative by adidas

11th May 2011 London: Today Australia s most successful Olympic swimmer and adidas global ambassador Ian Thorpe dropped in on the Hackney adiZone to see firsthand the impact that the innovative project is having on local communities. There are now 50 of the giant multi-sport outdoor venues up and down the country that are free to use and inspired by the sports of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Launched by adidas in 2008, the adiZones project is seeing success across the UK, helping people to get more active in sport and exercise. adiZones aim to try and break down the barriers, such as cost and access, that prohibit people from participating in exercise. Open 365 days a year, adiZones are permanent installations measuring 625sq metres and boast sporting facilities inspired by Olympic and Paralympic sports that include a basketball, football and tennis area, a climbing wall, an outdoor gym and an open area to encourage dance, aerobics and gymnastics.

Ian Thorpe took time out of a busy training schedule to attend the Hackney adiZone at Mabley Green and participate in a fitness session with local school children school children from Gainsborough School, the school closest to the Olympic Park.", Ian said: "It s great to see firsthand the work that adidas is doing in encouraging people to participate in sport and exercise. I am really impressed by the adiZone and it is great to learn and see the benefit it is having. To be in one of the Olympic boroughs today makes me really excited and I want to ensure I am part of London 2012."

The adiZone project has helped almost two-thirds (62%) of users of the adiZones who were interviewed get more active in sport and exercise - with the number rising to almost three-quarters (73%) of users aged under 16. adiZones are proving to be popular with the young and old alike and are seen as a valuable addition to local life, with 87% of people who use the adiZones claiming their local adiZone has had a positive impact on their community.

The research by The Nielsen Company, official market research services provider to London 2012, also revealed that the adiZones are becoming part of the public s regular exercise programmes, with 61% of people who use the adiZone claiming to use it at least once a week and nearly two thirds (59%) spending more than 20 minutes at the outdoor gyms on each visit.

The research concluded that 40% of all people using the adiZones see them as a destination exercise place , making a specific journey to use the facilities, whereas for a quarter of people who use the adiZones (25%) it s an informal exercise place they use when passing by. Most importantly, nearly half (48%) of users say that they are doing more exercise now than 6-12 months ago.

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “As a host borough for the 2012 Games, we want to inspire people of all abilities to try new sports and keep active. The adiZone will create a new space where people can meet up and enjoy getting fit at the same time.”

Nick Craggs, Marketing Director for adidas UK, said: "adidas created the adiZones as part of our pledge to inspire participation in sport and create a legacy from the London 2012 Games. Two of the major barriers to taking up sports that people cite are cost and lack of access to facilities. Today we have been able to bring one of the world s finest Olympians to Hackney to demonstrate that adiZones are clearly overcoming these hurdles and engaging the whole community in sport."

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