Robin Cousins 'very sad' about the closure of Bristol Ice Rink

Robin Cousins skating in 2000
Image caption Bristol-born Cousins won a gold medal at the 1980 Olympics

Olympic gold medallist ice skater Robin Cousins has said he is "very sad" that Bristol Ice Rink is to close.

On Friday it was announced the rink would be turned into student flats when its lease runs out next year.

The rink, which opened in 1966, is home to the Pitbulls ice hockey team and was where Cousins learnt to skate.

He said he had "fond memories" of the rink and urged council leaders to find a site for a new one as soon as possible.

On Friday, the site's owner, the Unite group, which builds student accommodation, said the O2 Academy music venue would not be affected but the ice rink would.

Cousins said: "I'm very sad to hear that having survived more than a few close shaves in the past, after 40 years the Bristol Ice Rink will finally close.

"I have such fond memories of it as one of Silver Blades landmark rinks and as the place where I learned to skate."

Cousins was born in Bristol in 1957 and became Britain's junior skating champion at the age of 14.

'Great sport'

He added: "I hope that Bristol City Council will do what it can to help keep ice-skating as part of the city landscape.

"Earmarking land for a temporary rink to be installed until a new rink or arena facility can be built would be great.

"Finding the right way to enable current and future generations to enjoy what I have always known is a great recreational and competitive sport to enjoyed by all the family."

Subject to receiving planning permission, the flats could be ready by September 2014.

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