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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 July, 2005, 06:56 GMT 07:56 UK
The mood in Moscow
An advertising hoarding in Moscow promotes the city's Olympic bid

The International Olympic Committee will vote on Wednesday to decide whether London, Paris, Madrid, New York or Moscow will host the Games in 2012.

In the third part of our series on bidding cities, Reuters' Gennady Fyodorov assesses the mood among Muscovites.

What's the feeling in Moscow ahead of the vote?

The officials connected with the bid seem confident they are going to succeed, although the rest of the world does not appear to share their opinion.

As far as the media goes, it has been mostly critical about the bid and believes Moscow has little chance of winning.

There are many visible signs around the city that Moscow is bidding, but I haven't found many people talking about it.

That's not to say they are indifferent to it. Maybe when the vote gets closer, the interest will grow.

Is Moscow stronger or weaker now than before its inspection?

I think it is more or less the same.

Moscow sports officials have been talking up the bid, saying that they received a good report from the evaluation commission and that everything is going according to plan.

My gut feeling is that deep down they know Moscow will probably not win this time unless something extraordinary happens.

Maybe they think that, whatever happens, it has been good chance to build a rapport with the IOC and I'm sure they will bid again.

What was the reaction to the inspection report, which said Moscow lacked detailed plans?

The bid team seemed very happy with the report and did not find any criticism in it.

Maria Sharapova has been backing the bid, but she won't be in Singapore
A few days ago Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said that if the city wins hosting rights, it will have everything ready two years in advance because it has most of the infrastructure in place.

But the Russian media has been less enthusiastic about the bid.

One newspaper editorial said the whole thing did not hold any water and would fall apart because Moscow is well behind Paris and London.

What will Moscow's tactics be in the days before the vote?

The bid team will tell everybody that Moscow deserves the Olympics because it is a major sport city and has more than 500 Olympic champions living there.

Moscow hosted the Games in 1980, when they were boycotted by the United States and a number of other western countries.

The bid team will say that Russia is a new country since the fall of communism and needs these Olympics to show the world that it has changed.

That will probably be the main card they try to play, because that is what they think sets them apart from their rivals.

Who will be in Moscow's bid delegation?

Mayor Luzhkov will lead the delegation, along with deputy mayor Valery Shantsev, who heads the bid committee.

There was talk Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov might go, but there has not been an official announcement so it looks unlikely he or President Vladimir Putin will be in Singapore.

Maria Sharapova has been backing the bid, but she won't go because she has tennis commitments.

But former Olympic champions like gymnast Alexei Nemov and swimmer Alexander Popov, who is an IOC member, will be there.

How do you think the vote will go?

My feeling is that Moscow will go out in the first round, although these votes can produce surprises.

I think it will be a close call in the final round between London and Paris, and I think Paris will win.

From Moscow's point of view, if they do not win they want New York to get it, as that would mean the Games would definitely come to a European city in 2016.

There is a feeling Paris would not bid for a fourth time if it missed out for 2012, which would increase Moscow's chances next time round.

On Monday: The mood in New York

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