1. ITV Report

The transformation of Weymouth and Portland into an Olympic venue

The Prince of Wales ( fourth left), on the balcony of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy during a recent visit. Photo: Chris Ison/PA Wire

The journey to the Olympics is nearly over, the London Games begin this Friday.

But long before our capital city found out it would host them, it was suggested Weymouth and Portland would be ideal for the sailing competition.

In the years since then much has been done to prepare for the games. The Sailing Academy has expanded and hosted some of the biggest regattas in the world.

It's sometimes hard to remember that this whole place grew out of an abandoned Navy base.

Engineers install a set of Olympic rings in the sea at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy, Weymouth. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Work on improving the Sailing Academy had actually started before the 2005 Olympic announcement.

In 2003 it was just a grotty building and a muddy slipway.

Ongoing construction work at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

By 2004 work was well underway on the replacement. It was opened by Princess Anne who, some seven years before the London games, declared it the best Olympic venue she had visited.

The combination of the shore side facilities and the quality of the local waters are absolutely unique and will provide an opportunity for Olympic sailing that they haven't had anywhere else.

– Princess Anne, speaking at the opening of the National Sailing Academy in 2005.

In 2008, the Olympic flag was passed from Beijing to Weymouth and Portland and our local sailors returned with three gold medals and bronze to a heroes' welcome.

For the last four years our sailors have been on the water training hard. Their moment is just around the corner.

British Olympic sailing team members at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Our Dorset Correspondent Duncan Sleightholme has followed developments as the area has transformed into an Olympic venue. Watch the full report below.

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