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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March 2005, 10:39 GMT
The mood in Moscow

View of Red Square in Moscow

The International Olympic Committee's inspection team has visited Moscow in the final leg of their tour of the five cities bidding to host the Games in 2012.

Reuters' Gennady Fyodorov assesses the mood among Muscovites.

What's the feeling in Moscow about its chances?

People are generally not very optimisitic.

It is like the Olympic Games themselves: some athletes go to take part and some go to win medals.

Many people see Moscow as just taking part in the bidding process, with little chance of actually winning.

They believe Moscow will host the Games in the future but very rarely do you succeed with the first try.

Paris have tried twice before and now they are favourites to win the 2012 Games, and hopefully Moscow will be at that stage in the future.

Do people support the bid?

Support is quite high.

You rarely see protests in Moscow anyway but everyone likes the idea.

They see this bid as a necessary step to getting the Games - but they don't believe Moscow will get it this time.

What are the strengths of the Moscow bid?

The quality of the organisation.

The memory of hosting the Games in 1980 is still quite fresh so people know what to do and how to do it.

The main weakness is probably the perception that Russia is still lagging behind

The transport and security that would be highly organised.

Moscow is a different city now to the days when it was still behind the Iron Curtain.

It's one of the best cities in the world - it has all the attractions of the big Western cities.

And visitors to the Games would discover a new country. That is a big plus.

And the weaknesses?

The main one is probably the perception that Russia is still lagging behind in certain political and economic aspects.

Some may still see it almost as a developing country.

The infrastructure is also an issue, for example the lack of quality hotels, the state of the roads, the traffic jams, the lack of modern airports and so on.

What's the profile of Moscow's bid leader Valery Shantsev?

Shatsev, who is also the city's deputy mayor, is well-received.

He's viewed as a sports person - he heads the Moscow ice hockey federation as well and also the Russian billiards federation.

He also plays soccer for the city government team.

He understands sport so he's viewed in a positive way.

It was snowing during the IOC inpsectors' visit - could that affect how they view the bid?

I think Russia asked to be the last city to be inspected because they were hoping it would be spring, but unfortunately it's still snowing.

It will be difficult for the inspectors to imagine what the city will be like in August during the Games because it will be completely different.

But obviously there's not much we can do about the weather.

What plans does Moscow have for the inspectors?

Of course, the inspection team will see the bid and visit all the sites.

But they will also meet President Vladimir Putin and attend an official dinner hosted by Russian prime minister Mikhail Fradkov and Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov.



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