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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 May, 2003, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
Sports stars' reaction to bid
The British Government has given the go-ahead for London's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

BBC Sport looks at the reaction to the news from international sports stars.


Lord Sebastian Coe - double Olympic 1500m gold medallist

"I think it is very important we are there and battling.

"What we do need is everybody on board and for the IOC, it is vitally important they recognise from the prime minister down that everybody is singing off the same hymn sheet.

Lord Sebastian Coe
Coe says Manchester's success could prove significant

"But a government-supported bid - and it needs support from the highest level - has an extremely good chance.

"The Manchester Commonwealth Games changed the perception in world sport quite dramatically.

"We had a championships which were hugely successful, we had full houses every night of the week, it was very good news for TV as well and made a massive contribution for the regeneration of a very hard-pressed area of a large British city.

"The IAAF and the IOC are not unaware of what Manchester did.

"Those of us who have been pushing a London bid owe a massive debt of gratitude to what Manchester did because they gave us some respectability back."


Roger Black - Olympic medallist

"I think anyone involved in athletics has got to be excited about this. It's something that all athletes dream of.

"The assumption that we have to make, after listening to (Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) Tessa Jowell, is that the government will back us to the hilt.

"But it is a political game that whoever is heading up this team has to play. Someone like Steve Redgrave will have a role to play, but the role of leading this team is not to convince the British public, but to convince the rest of the world.

"It needs someone with political nous."


Tanni Grey-Thompson - Paralympic medallist

"Sydney was such a huge thing to follow. In Manchester we could prove that we could do it.

"It really did come close to Sydney.

"You need people who have a sporting background, but you also need the people with a business background. With the plethora of big games around, there are a lot of people who have a huge amount of experience organising big games.

"We shouldn't be embarrassed or ashamed that if we have to bring in people from outside we do that.

"For me, it's about being really committed to this bid because I think we can do a tremendous job."


Cathy Freeman - Australian Olympic 400m gold medallist

"I think London will be a great venue for the Olympic Games.

"It is somewhere I love competing and where I have lived and trained several times.

"The athletics fans are absolutely brilliant, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I'm almost certain, having competed regularly at British meets, the organisation will be also very good.

"Obviously I cannot compare anything to Sydney, what happened there will live in my memories for ever and ever - but for me, London can successfully stage the Olympics."


Jason Queally - British Olympic 1km cycling gold medallist

HAVE YOUR SAY

"It is great that the government have decided to support the bid and I think the Olympics in London will be fantastic.

"The facilities and infrastructure have to be right - that's the most important thing to the athletes.

"The organisation in Sydney was amazing, and athlete-orientated. As long as it is centred around the athletes then it is very good for us."


Tim Montgomery - America's 100m world record holder

"I'm not sure. Are you going to build a stadium?

"The weather in London is always a bit 'iffy', making racing up-and-down."


Gareth Davies - chairman of the Welsh Sports Council and former Wales rugby captain

"Even though it is a London bid I think it will be seen as British bid. We understand any venue has to be London.

"It is genuinely a British bid and it's great for sport.

"It is important that existing monies [set aside by the government for other sports ] are not channelled into funding the Olympics. I hope it's not a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

"I think the government will be sensible and pragmatic enough to ensure that all the criteria are met and that it will be very successful for the UK."


Lynn Davies - long jump gold medallist

"I really believe we can stage a fabulous Olympic Games.

"Sport in this country is big, yet it seems for a while we have been going nowhere with the Wembley disaster, losing the 2005 World Athletic Championships and football's World Cup.

"I can understand the government's concern at bidding and understand why they need assurances before spending what will be a huge amount of money on the bid.

"But Tessa Jowell recently met the IOC (International Olympic Committee) president Jacques Rogge and he believes there is a good chance.

"Likewise, IAAF president Lamine Diack has publicly gone on record saying that London can host the Olympic Games and London Mayor Ken Livingstone is already behind staging the Games.

"Now we just need everybody to come together on this. It will be a long time before the opportunity arises again."


Ann Packer - 800 metres gold medallist

"I think we should definitely have the courage and go for it.

"I suppose there are all sorts of reasons at this particular moment to do nothing, but I feel it is very important that we do make an attempt."


Mary Peters - Olympic pentathlon gold medallist

"I fully support hosting the Olympic Games.

"I'm very enthusiastic about it after Manchester was such an outstanding success.

"The Commonwealth Games proved so popular with the public and also showed the world we can organise a major event.

"But it must be held in London with it being the capital. No other city in the country would get much-needed votes from the IOC members."


Sir Bobby Charlton - football legend

"We are a huge sporting nation and we should apply for anything.

"We went for the World Cup, we had the best bid by a mile, but just because we lost doesn't mean you say 'that's it - we have had enough'.

"You have to keep going and bid again and again until people realise you are serious."




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Sport's Rebecca Couper
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IOC president Jacques Rogge
"It will leave a great legacy to the city"


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