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Last Updated: Monday, 4 July, 2005, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
The state of play in Singapore
Our man's lowdown on the Olympics 2012 showdown.


By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport in Singapore

MONDAY: The schmoozing has started

The five cities battling for the 2012 Olympics stepped up their charm offensives on Monday, with the results ranging from the comical to the controversial.

New York, London, Paris and Madrid all trumpeted their bids to the world's media, while unfancied Moscow settled for a simple press release.

Here's how the day progressed...

NEW YORK

The New York news conference came complete with its very own Statue of Liberty
The New York news conference came complete with its very own Statue of Liberty

Venue: Conference room

Prop: Statue of Liberty woman

Team outfits: Bright green polo shirts

Best quote: "You saw us like an athlete who fell, got back up and ran even harder." (New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg)

The Big Apple's first big public relations exercise got off to a somewhat bizarre start.

After a 20-minute delay, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg took to the stage followed by a woman covered in green paint and dressed as the Statue of Liberty.

There was a confident declaration from Bloomberg that his city would win Wednesday's vote as a birthday present for President George W Bush.

But some felt NYC was putting style before substance as the mayor did not talk in detail about the city's hastily revised Olympic stadium plans.

Behind Bloomberg stood a horde of New York bid ambassadors, including Australian swimming star Ian Thorpe, many of them looking distinctly disinterested.

And, with the London news conference looming, many reporters rushed off well before the end.

LONDON

Venue: Small ballroom

Prop: London taxi cab outside hotel

Team outfits: Blue or red polo shirts

Best quote: "I've got some chickens and they hardly ever hatch." (The Princess Royal)

Sir Steve Regrave in a London 2012 taxi
Taxi for Redgrave: Sir Steve poses in 2012 cab
A crowd of security guards and X-ray scanning machines for the first of London's two daily briefings suggested the big guns might be in the house.

But it turned out Prime Minister Tony Blair was on lobbying duty and David Beckham was still in the air, leaving culture secretary Tessa Jowell and Mayor Ken Livingstone to take centre stage.

Or so we thought.

Instead Australian Olympic experts Jim Sloman and Rod Sheard stole the show by criticising the centrepiece of the Paris bid, the Stade de France.

With the ink still wet in the notebooks, the press pack hurried out and across the road to see what Paris had to say about it.

London's afternoon briefing was a less controversial affair, although the Princess Royal was in chirpy mood as she deftly sidestepped some tricky questions and extolled the virtues of her city's bid.

PARIS

Venue: Converted church

Prop: Relay baton in bid colours

Team outfits: -

Best quote: "My grandmother is English and I have learned a very nice English word - fair play." (Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe)

Any hopes the Paris team had of setting its own news agenda for the day were swept away when the question and answer session began in the imposing setting of a converted church.

The words 'fair play' and 'Olympic spirit' had already echoed around the domed ceiling several times when British journalists began asking Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe whether he thought London was playing dirty.

There were also questions about French IOC member Guy Drut, absent due to his involvement in a corruption trial not related to the Olympics, and - from a Frenchman - whether Paris could keep to its Olympic budget.

They were all repelled, but Delanoe's sang-froid was tested to the limit as he just managed to resist countless invitations to hit back at London.

And when asked what he thought of the British media's approach, he told me pointedly: "I'm for a free press, and I'm very happy that the French press not only support the Paris bid but also the Olympic ideal."

MADRID

Venue: Big ballroom

Prop: Red bid wristbands

Team outfits: Turquoise polo shirts

Best quote: "I don't know whether I will win more votes than Beckham." (Real Madrid and Spain footballer Raul)

While Paris had lined up no less than seven key bid figures, Madrid went two better at its first media opportunity.

But the Spanish capital's failure to copy the Paris tactic of using translation headsets made for a painstaking experience as all answers were repeated in English.

Madrid's star turn was Raul, who insisted Madrid would win and even took a gentle swipe at Real Madrid team-mate and 2012 rival Beckham.

Asked what he would say to Beckham if Madrid won, he told me: "I will simply remind him that he now lives in Madrid, a city he likes very much.

"It has opened its doors to him and he will continue to have the chance to be happy and play football there."

Raul also appears to be going head-to-head with Beckham in the fashion stakes.

The Spanish pin-up boy shunned the turquoise polo shirts warn by fellow ambassadors Miguel Indurain and Pau Gasol in favour of a sharp black suit and open-necked white shirt.

MOSCOW

Venue: No gathering, just a press release

Prop: Er... the photocopier used to help circulate the press release!

Team outfits: Tops with giant bid logo

Best quote: "The choice of Moscow is similar to that of Beijing - it will be historic." (Mayor Yuri Luzhkov)

The Russian capital went for the 'less is more' approach on the eve of its only scheduled news conference.

Undeterred by Moscow's status as the rank outsider, Mayor Yuri Luzhkov issued a press release, saying it "has the edge over the other candidate cities because it would be the historic choice".

Luzhkov said Moscow was the only city which would be fundamentally changed by the Games, and drew parallels with Chinese capital Beijing's successful bid for the 2008 Games.

The suspense will be broken when he and swimming legend Alexander Popov take centre stage on Tuesday.




SEE ALSO
Heat is on at Olympic vote
03 Jul 05 |  Olympics 2012


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