Malcom Barham (L), Chief Exec of Lincolnshire YMCA and Sir Steve Redgrave (R)
Sir Steve Redgrave spoke about his life dedicated to sport before officially opening Lincoln’s £5 million youth centre on Tritton Road, The Showrom.
He felt like it was a cause close to him as his mother ran a youth centre
Chief Executive of the Lincolnshire YMCA, Malcom Barham, had a long list of thanks to make for the centre’s completion before introducing Sir Redgrave.
The five-times Olympic Gold Medal winner then mentioned how he originally found sport a good way to get out of the classroom and have a good time.
Redgrave said: “It wasn’t about Olympic ambitions but going out on the river with mates to have fun.”
When asked about the celebrity culture and high wages surrounding some sports such as football, Redgrave was defensive about his sporting colleagues.
He blamed new technology, such as smartphones, for making people in the public eye ‘public property’ and pointed out that sportspeople weren’t among the highest earners in the country.
In a room mainly full of business people and politicians, Redgrave cleverly pointed out: “Technology means people can always take photos or videos of you, so you need to be representing yourself, as many MPs have found out.
“There are only two football players in The Times Top 100 UK earners and they are David Beckham and Ashley Cole.”
The Showroom attracted national recognition, with the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Children and Young Families, Tim Loughton congratulating the centre.
Local youth Ben Woodcock (13) from Urban Street, Lincoln, was impressed with the centre and the facilities that were inside.
Woodcock said: “This place is really cool and the best thing is it should really keep kids off the street.”
The 35,000 sq ft complex hosts the county’s largest climbing centre, with 40 climbing lines and an equipment store on the premises.
Visitors of The Showroom have available an indoor cage for urban football and an arcade zone with video games and bowling.
The venue plans to be self-sustainable by operating a conference and events centre for up to 400 seats across two suites.
Around 100 free parking spaces are available for visitors.