Quebec's provincial government is now certain that work on the huge site in Montreal for the 1976 Olympic Games will be completed on schedule.
Quebec's provincial government is now certain that work on the huge site in Montreal for the 1976 Olympic Games will be completed on schedule. They do warn, however, that some of the "frills" may be missing when the Games open next July.
One part of the vast Olympic site expected to near completion early in the spring is the Claude Robillard centre, a giant complex which will house a number of the Games' indoor competitions as well as providing essential training and practice facilities for thousands of athletes.
The centre holds a double gymnasium and a multisports theatre where the Olympics' handball competition preliminaries will take place. In the second section of the complex, work is moving rapidly forward on yet another full Olympic-size swimming pool, to be used in the waterpolo elimination rounds and for extensive swimming practice.
Equipped with a movable bridge, the pool can be divided into two sections, each 25 metres (27.3 yards) in length. In addition, the centre contains a diving pool, complete with seven diving boards.
When construction is finished, some 2,500 spectators will be able to watch the water events, like waterpolo, in the centre ... and another 2,000 the complete range of athletic events, both indoor and outdoor, the centre is also able to provide.
Overall, the Olympic project has been hit by a series of industrial, financial and administrative setbacks which have seriously jeopardised the projected completion date of late June 1976. Last month, the Quebec provincial government took over complete control of the project in a surprise move after cost estimates had tripled to around 1,000 million dollars (476 million pounds sterling).
This was followed by a series of police raids on the homes and offices of top officials connected with the building of the Olympic village after serious allegations of fraud and corruption had been made.
Less than a fortnight later, the French architect responsible for designing a major part of the Olympic complex, the main stadium, swimming pool and velodrome centre, Mr. Roger Taillibert, was removed. The Quebec Minister of Municipal Affairs, Dr. Victor Goldbloom denied reports that the architect had been fired.
SYNOPSIS: The snow-covered Claude Robillard complex in Montreal, Canada ... main practice centre for next July's Olympic Games. Officials now estimate construction will be completed by early spring, despite fears that labour troubles, bad weather and financial problems would leave many areas of the vast Olympic site unfinished for the opening. The multisports complex houses the main swimming and diving practice facilities, a double gymnasium and -- close by -- an outdoor track for training athletes.
In the main sports arena at the centre, some two thousand spectators will be able to watch the preliminaries for the Olympic handball competition ... plus a complete athletic programme.
On the other side of the complex, another two thousand five hundred will see the waterpolo elimination trials ... and the world's top swimmers getting into gear for the major events, held in the main stadium.
The full-size practice pool is equipped with a movable bridge, converting the water into two separate pools, each 25 metres in length. One section is also fitted with a mobile floor ... for drier events.
The water area also contains a 25-by-25 metre diving pool, complete with seven diving boards, where medal-hopefuls can practice their spectacular twists, curls and turns.
The huge training complex'll be main focus of attention and activity in the weeks before next July's Games' opening.