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Last Updated: Friday, 16 January, 2004, 18:46 GMT
Cities unveil Olympic bids
Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe (R) and French Sports Minister Jean-Francois Lamour attend a ceremony
Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe (r) and French sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour are confident
The nine cities hoping to stage the Olympic Games in 2012 have unveiled details of their bids.

Paris, the favourite, was first to launch its candidacy, with a glitzy ceremony at the Eiffel Tower on Friday.

The city lost out to Beijing for the 2008 Games and also missed out in 1992, but it is confident it can win now.

London and Moscow have also revealed their bids; Madrid, New York, Istanbul, Leipzig, Rio de Janeiro and Havana are expected to launch theirs later.

Paris, which staged football's World Cup in 1998, will centre its bid around the 80,000 capacity Stade de France - and 14 of the 32 stadiums needed are already built.

We already have successful experience of hosting the Olympics
Valery Shantsev
Moscow's deputy mayor
France's sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour said: "We have the know-how of how to organise things on a large scale.

"And the government will support the bid to the highest level, right up to President (Jacques) Chirac, whether financial, or in terms of security."

Bid committee director Essar Gabriel has promised there will be no white elephants which will be left to rust once the Games are over.

Moscow, vying to host only its second ever Olympic Games, is considered an underdog in comparison with Paris, London, Madrid and New York.

But organisers feel the Russian capital's rich experience of hosting international sporting events and the positive attitude of its inhabitants could prove crucial.

"We already have successful experience of hosting the Olympics and I believe this fact will seriously boost Moscow's chances to become the 2012 Games capital," said Valery Shantsev, the city's deputy mayor.

BOOKMAKERS' FAVOURITES
11/8 Paris
5/2 London
6/1 Madrid
8/1 New York
8/1 Rio
16/1 Moscow
25/1 Leipzig
33/1 Istanbul
100/1 Havana

The fear of more terrorist attacks, however, is likely to continue to plague Moscow's bid.

The city has been the target of suicide bomb attacks linked to the ongoing war in Chechnya, now in its fifth year.

Moscow hosted its first and only Olympics in July 1980, the first time the Games were held in a Communist country.

Leipzig hopes to bring back the Olympics to Germany by highlighting its user-friendly concept of small-scale games.

"The International Olympic Committee wants simple and compact games and we are perfectly suited for that," said bid manager Peter Zuehlsdorff.

Leipzig, who are clear outsiders, have been dogged by a number of setbacks.

The campaign has been hit by financial irregularities as well as the expulsion of several top officials amid allegations over links with the former East German Stasi secret police.

The compact concept provides the highest security standards - very discrete but very effective
Peter Zuehlsdorff
Leipzig bid manager
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has given his full support to Madrid's bid.

"This is a great bid, as befits a great city and a greatnation," said Aznar.

He revealed that 70% of the proposed communication and infrastructure projects have already begun.

The concentration and proximity of sporting venues in the Spanish capital have been praised as one of the bid's strongest points.

A relatively low-key launch in New York focused on the city's energy, drive, diversity and and spirit.

NYC2012 officials avoided mention of the September 11 attacks during the presentation.

But other officials said the bid organisers and the New York Police Department had developed a comprehensive security plan.

Rio de Janeiro has promised that all venues would be situated within a 26km radius of each other.

"This project is magnificent, excellent, unique and historic because, for the first time, all the installations will be within the urban perimeter," said Brazilian Olympic Committee president Carlos Arthur Nuzman.

Istanbul, making its fourth consecutive bid to stage the Games, is promoting itself as a "bridge between civilisations".

We have a good project, a very compact one and we'll be able to display all 28 sports in one city and in one village for the athletes
Yalcin Aksoy
Istanbul bid chief
The sprawling city of 10m would host all events and house all athletes in one village between two main clusters of venues on Istanbul's European shores.

"We have a good project, a very compact one and we'll be able to display all 28 sports in one city and in one village for the athletes," said bid chief Yalcin Aksoy.

Outsider Havana is keen to highlight the successful staging of previous international events as well as its relatively crime-free environment.

The list of cities who have made the initial cut will be announced by the IOC in May, with the candidate cities then required to submit more detailed bid information in November.

The final vote by the 125 IOC members will be taken in Singapore on 6 July, 2005.




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