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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 February, 2005, 19:02 GMT
Coe promises 'best Olympics ever'
Lord Coe and Tessa Jowell lead the IOC inspectors on the first day of the inspection
London bid leader Lord Coe has promised IOC inspectors the city will provide the "best Games ever".

Coe's presentation to the 16-strong IOC evaluation committee explained London's plans for a strong sporting legacy beyond 2012.

"London's ambition is not just to be a good Olympic Games - it has to be the best," said Coe.

Culture secretary Tessa Jowell and London mayor Ken Livingstone also gave speeches in support of the bid.

Bid officials denied the row over Livingstone's comments to a Jewish journalist have clouded the visit.

Livingstone likened the reporter to a "concentration camp guard", but has refused to apologise for his comments, prompting a political storm that has threatened to overshadow London's bid.

Spokesman Mike Lee said the controversy was not raised at Wednesday morning's briefing.

However, it was featured in the influential Around the Rings Olympic newsletter, which is read by IOC members.

In his speech, Coe added: "We will deliver on time and on budget because we've already begun building and because our attention is focused on the next generation.

"I am an athlete and I don't run to come second.

I don't believe there's another bid that can do the Paralympics as well as we can
Dame Tanni Grey Thompson
"The Olympic Games will transform this city, regenerating the poorest parts of London while making full use of the beauty and sophistication of this great capital.

"No Games should pass through this city without leaving a lasting impression. There can be no white elephants cherished only for their irrelevance to local communities.

"Come to London and we will give you the best Games ever."

Coe provided detailed plans explaining that 80% of Olympic athletes and 98% of Paralympians will have less than a 20-minute journey from accommodation to venue.

He also said every new building would be accompanied by 25-year business plan.

Redgrave, Holmes, Khan and Edwards all offered their support to London's bid
Redgrave, Khan and Holmes all offered their support

Bid officials were joined by British Olympians Sir Steve Redgrave, Dame Kelly Holmes, Jonathan Edwards and Amir Khan.

Redgrave, the chairman of the bid's athletes' advisory group, said: "I think we've got our messages across extremely strongly.

"It was very constructive and we got some great messages across about what a fantastic bid we have."

Holmes, who interrupted her training to attend the first day of the visit, added: "They've put in a very positive bid.

"The response from the British public has been fantastic. I know that if we held the Olympics every single venue would be sold out no matter what sport."

Dame Tanni Grey Thompson, Britain's most successful Paralympian ever, also gave her backing to London's bid.

She praised the way the London team had made the Paralympics an integral part of the entire bid.

"If it had been something bolted on to the end I wouldn't have been interested in getting involved," she told BBC News 24.

We got some great messages across about what a fantastic bid we have
Sir Steve Redgrave
The London bid team has been meticulous in its preparations for the inspection with two full "dress rehearsals" planning every aspect of the inspector's stay in the city.

Bid officials also unveiled new transport plans on Wednesday, detailing the infrastructure that must be put in place in time for 2012.

The "ace in the pack" of the transport plans is a new "Olympic Javelin" service and Channel Tunnel rail-link.

Culture secretary Tessa Jowell believes Coe's standing in world sport will be a massive plus for the bid.

The double Olympic medallist is a member of the athletics' ruling body, the IAAF, as well as knowing the members of the evaluation commission.

"Never under-estimate the power of having your bid leader someone as highly-regarded in the international sporting community as Seb Coe," said Jowell.

"He knows all the members of the evaluation commission, and that must stand London in good stead."

London is up against Paris, New York, Madrid and Moscow and is the second city to be inspected by the IOC team following their trip to Spain at the start of February.

The team's evaluation report will then help IOC members decide the winner in a vote on 6 July.

Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan

Interview: Double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes

Interview: Paralympic champion Tanni Grey Thompson

IOC inspectors arrive in London
15 Feb 05 |  Olympics 2012
IOC team impressed by Madrid bid
06 Feb 05 |  Olympics 2012

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