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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 10:53 GMT
The men chasing the Olympic dream
Of the five cities battling to host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012, only London can boast an Olympian at its helm - and a double gold medallist to boot.

But does it matter?

BBC Sport runs the rule over the leaders of the London, Paris, New York, Madrid and Moscow bids.

London bid leader Sebastian Coe
Born: 29 Sep 1956
Background: Double Olympic champion turned politician
Strengths: Olympic profile and sporting contacts, good speaker

Initially appointed as one of three vice-chairmen, Lord Coe took over the reins from American businesswoman Barbara Cassani after London made the shortlist of five candidate cities last May.

With the bid lagging behind in the International Olympic Committee's first evaluation, it was hoped Coe could provide one of the famous storming finishes which swept him to Olympic 1500m gold in 1980 and 1984.

The middle distance legend's profile and sporting contacts give him a clout with the IOC that Cassani could not have established.

Coe numbers influential former Olympic chief Juan Antonio Samaranch among his admirers and is a member of the ruling council of athletics' governing body, the IAAF.

The Loughborough University economics graduate's time as a Conservative member of parliament - and more recently private secretary to former Tory leader William Hague - gave him plenty of campaigning experience.

Coe once suffered the indignity of being mocked by IOC president Jacques Rogge over Britain's withdrawal as host of the 2005 World Athletics Championships.

But he has been credited with closing the gap on favourites Paris as the final IOC vote on 6 July draws ever closer.

Paris bid leader Philippe Baudillon
Born: 23 October 1955
Background: Diplomat and TV rights expert
Strengths: Previous bid experience, good people skills
When you are dealing with the IOC, it is pretty handy to have a diplomat leading your bid - and Philippe Baudillon's credentials are impressive.

The 48-year-old is a graduate of the ENA, France's most prestigious business school, and was once an advisor to former Prime Minister Edouard Balladur.

He founded SIMA International, a consultancy specialising in TV sports rights, and recently led a project to assess the feasibility of setting up an international French language news channel.

Baudillon knows what it is like to work on an Olympic bid, having been number two on the team which lost out to Barcelona for the 1992 Games.

He has so far struck a modest tone as the favourites for 2012 guard against complacency, and addressed the media in English at a news conference to promote his bid during the Athens Games.

New York bid leader Dan Doctoroff
Born: 11 July 1958
Background: Investment banker turned politician
Strengths: Persuasive and passionate
New York's deputy mayor Dan Doctoroff is on a personal mission to bring the Olympics to New York for the first time.

Doctoroff's sporting career came to an end at an early age when he broke his thumb, collarbone and arm playing gridiron during his first year at high school.

But he set his sights on bringing the Olympics to New York in 1994 after watching the football World Cup semi-final between Italy and Bulgaria at Giants Stadium, setting up the bid committee soon after.

Educated at Harvard and with a law degree from the University of Chicago, Doctoroff made his fortune in investment banking and private equity investment.

His Olympic ambition drew him into politics, and he now combines bid duties with overseeing the rebuilding process in New York in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 - and all for a salary of $1 a year.

Madrid bid leader Feliciano Mayoral
Born: 22 November 1955
Background: Volleyball player turned sports administrator
Strengths: Olympic experience, good IOC contacts
Mayoral never got to the Olympics as an athlete, despite making 75 appearances for the Spanish volleyball team.

But the law graduate has an intimate knowledge of what it takes to host the Games and, significantly, plenty of friends within the IOC.

Mayoral began his career in sports politics as president of the Spanish Volleyball Federation in 1984, and went on to become secretary general of the Spanish Olympic Committee.

He was a member of the organising committee for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and served on the IOC's co-ordination commission overseeing the Sydney and Athens Games.

The 49-year-old has also been involved in the fight against drugs in sport, having been on the executive board of the World Anti-Doping Agency from 2000-2003.

Moscow bid leader Valery Shantsev
Born: 29 June 1947
Background: Factory worker turned politician
Strengths: Support from the top
While Moscow's mayor Yuri Luzhkov was the man behind the launch of the city's 2012 bid, his deputy Valery Shantsev has been the one trying to sell it to the world.

A graduate in wireless engineering from the Moscow Institute of Radio Technology, Electronics and Automatics, Shantsev began his career as a foreman's assistant in Moscow's Saljut radio factory.

He went on to carve out a formidable political career, becoming a member of the Moscow government in 1994.

A supporter of Boris Yeltsin, he was seriously injured in a terrorist bomb attack before the 1996 elections, in which he was elected vice-mayor.

His sporting experience includes a three-year spell as commercial director of the Dinamo ice hockey club in the early 1990s, and he is currently responsible for economic policy and development in Moscow.

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