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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
Why London won the Olympics
By Francis Keogh and Andrew Fraser

London has dramatically beaten four rival cities to win the right to stage the Olympic Games in 2012.

Paris were long considered favourites, while Madrid, Moscow and New York also submitted bids.

But after an exhaustive two-year search to find the hosts, London won the hearts of International Olympic Committee members.

So what was it that brought the Games back to the UK for the first time since 1948?


Olympic legend Lord Coe provided a champion's touch and just the shot in the arm London needed after a slow start under original bid leader, American Barbara Cassani.

London 2012 bid leader Lord Coe

Coe, plain Sebastian when he claimed double Olympic 1500m gold in 1980 and 1984, expertly combined his athletics experience with political nous.

He was quick to address perceived bid weaknesses like London's creaking transport system.

Coe's team was commended by Olympic inspectors for a "very high quality" bid book, having being third of the five bidding cities a year earlier.

He travelled tirelessly, used his political experience well and his background and profile helped convince IOC members London should get their vote.

With the destiny of the Games on a knife-edge, and dark horses Madrid emerging as genuine contenders alongside favourites Paris, Coe delivered the coup de grace - his passionate final plea to the voters in Singapore.

While the French capital's final presentation was steady and Madrid evoked a sunny outlook, Coe turned to youth and his belief in the Olympic ideal.

London was allowed 100 representatives in the voting hall, and in a bold move, bid leaders made sure 30 of them were young people from the capital.

They were introduced to the audience as Coe drew on personal experience to speak of the Olympic movement's ability to inspire.

It was inspired all round.


Plans for a new Olympic park based around the deprived area of Stratford in London's East End presented a powerful case for transforming the social and sporting landscape of the capital.

Legacy was the word, and it was used often to deliver the message - give us the Games, and one of the world's great capital cities will be transformed.

It was a vision that offered a new national athletics stadium, aquatic centre and velodrome.

But it also fitted in with the idea of compact, non-wasteful Games, with several temporary venues to be relocated elsewhere in the UK. There would be no white elephants.

The bid made use of famous landmarks and sporting venues - for example, tennis at Wimbledon and beach volleyball along Horseguards Parade.

It was well presented to the evaluation commission and key moves, such as taking the Olympic inspectors through the under-construction Channel Tunnel rail link tunnel in Range Rovers, helped allay transport fears.


London fought an aggressive public relations campaign, both on a national and international level.

David Beckham was a sporting ambassador for the London bid
To have the Olympics in our manor would be a special thing
David Beckham, who grew up in the East End
The bid was kept in the public eye with constant events and press releases and turned around lukewarm public opinion enough to convince the IOC that Britain really wanted the Games.

Coe and London chief executive Keith Mills made sure London performed strongly at the various head-to-heads with their rivals at Olympic get-togethers around the world.

Getting influential ambassadors such as Nelson Mandela and David Beckham on board was also a boost.

Concerns about lack of royal backing for the bid were skilfully addressed when the Queen hosted the inspectors for a dinner at Buckingham Palace.


Having initially taken time to decide whether to back a bid, Tony Blair and company went into the campaign fully committed.

Prime minister Tony Blair
Blair, who spoke at the official bid launch, was the only leader of the five to attend the Athens Olympics and lobbied in Singapore despite his G8 commitments.

His presence at such a crucial time is thought to have personally swayed key voters.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, who is in line to be the Olympics minister, worked hard at local level.

And mayor Ken Livingstone buried his differences with Blair to present the united front needed to reassure the IOC that politics would not get in the way of Olympic preparations.

Blair took a gamble by flying to Singapore, and glad-handed an estimated 30 IOC members himself.

Meanwhile, his French counterpart Jacques Chirac laid into British and Finnish food.

Chirac was left eating his words. And one suspects revenge may have been sweet for the two delegates from Finland, whose votes will have been important in a tight contest.


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