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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 July, 2005, 06:08 GMT 07:08 UK
The mood in London
MOOD AMONG RIVALS
A schoolboy peers out from under a sea of London 2012 flags
The International Olympic Committee votes on Wednesday to decide whether London, Paris, Madrid, New York or Moscow will host the Games in 2012.

In the final part of our series, Adrian Warner, of London's Evening Standard newspaper, sums up the mood in the English capital.


How are things looking for London ahead of the vote?

I think the bid team is confident, but they are still working very hard.

They had a successful meeting in Ghana with the African members and felt they did well there, and generally they feel it could be a very close race.

They are not arrogant, but they are quietly confident that they are in with a chance.

I still do not think the general public has grasped the enormity of what hosting the Olympics could mean, but I think momentum will build as the vote approaches.

Is London's position stronger now than before its inspection?

I believe it is.

The one thing that could have happened in the evaluation was that transport could have been criticised. That was the big issue in the previous report, but London seemed to get quite a good transport report.

The report said there was no major technical reason why IOC members should not vote for London, and the bid team are quite right to be pleased with the way it has gone.

Do you subscribe to the conspiracy theory that people high up in the IOC want Paris to win?

That theory was mentioned in a recent report circulated to IOC members, but it is very difficult to find evidence for it.

I do not think the evaluation report analysed Paris as well as it should have done. It could have been a bit more critical of Paris, but Paris does have a good bid.

What does London's team have to do in Singapore to win?

It has to get across to the IOC how much the government and the people of London want the Games, that there is a real will to stage this event.

The second thing is to emphasise how much it would change London, in terms of regeneration and making sport much more important in Britain.

You should never ask an IOC member who they are going to vote for
I don't think the Olympics would change Paris and France anywhere near like it would change London and Britain.

They have to get that over, because it's an issue that puts them ahead of Paris.

If the IOC is interested in changing a city and really leaving a mark, it can do that with London much more than with the others.

London's bid team will have to keep talking to IOC members right up until the final hours.

Members are looking for different things, and Lord Coe's team should know by now what they should be saying to every one of them.

The one question I'm told you should never ask is: "Who are you going to vote for?". Members guard their right to secret ballot very fiercely, and that's what makes it so hard to predict.

Is Prime Minister Tony Blair's presence important?

Very important.

The saga over the World Athletics Championships and Pickett's Lock is still a negative because it looked like the government was not committed to that.

The fact the Prime Minister is in Singapore just before a huge G8 Summit to deal with world poverty shows how much the government supports London's bid.

It is vital that he talks to IOC members and gets the message across that the government really wants these Olympics and is going to back them up financially.

Has London got its mix of sporting ambassadors right?

The one thing London's bid team has got to do is make sure there is not too much fuss around the likes of David Beckham and Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Beckham is an East End boy, but he is not an Olympic athlete, and there is an argument that none of these celebrities actually win any votes.

It's a matter of making sure IOC members don't look at this huge fuss going on in the lobby and think it is getting in the way of their meeting, because that could potentially backfire.

Of course, having Beckham there is incredible in terms of public relations, but PR does not win it now - relationships with IOC members do.

Are there any weaknesses that could scupper London's bid?

London has not built many of its facilities yet and people might ask: "Could Britain handle that kind of big project?"

That's why it is important the government is there to tell IOC members not to worry.

Some people point to the British media, after what happened with the BBC's Panorama programme, as being too harsh on the IOC, and some members will not like the idea of seven years of scrutiny.

But these are things you can turn round and speak positively about. I think a good media is important to get a decent Olympics.

But all the bids have got negatives, and IOC members will all have different reasons why they vote in a certain way.

How do you think the voting will go?

I don't think we will have a real feeling until about 48 hours before, and that feeling might only be that's it's going to be dreadfully close.

The first round is a very dangerous area because there will be some tactical voting. It is possible even London could go out, although I don't think it will.

Personally I think New York could go out first, because there are a lot of people who will want to make sure Moscow is not embarrassed.

I think it is going to be London and Paris in the final round, and that Madrid will make a good effort and go out just before the final round.

Will London bid again if it does not win?

Assuming New York does not win, you are probably talking 2024 before the Games would come back to Europe.

Realistically, I don't think London would bid again next time, because there would not be much chance.

If London thought about going for 2024, it might do a dry run for 2020.

But the problem is whether these areas of London would be available then. Would you be able to put an Olympic stadium in Stratford then?

Probably not. The world would have moved on.




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