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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 17:32 GMT 18:32 UK
One great day in Singapore
Andrew Fraser
By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport in Singapore

Sir Steve Redgrave and David Beckham embrace
Sir Steve Redgrave and David Beckham embrace after the verdict
When Sir Steve Redgrave looked up at International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge in the final nailbiting seconds before the 2012 Olympics verdict, he was convinced London had lost.

Then, after what seemed like an eternity, Rogge tore open the envelope and uttered the magic words which Redgrave insists mean more to him than his five Olympic gold medals put together.

"My head nearly hit the desk," the rowing legend revealed as he fought back the tears.

"I was convinced when I got into the hall that it was going to go the other way."

It is significant that the first person Redgrave hugged as London's team erupted in celebration was Amber Charles.

The likes of David Beckham and Daley Thompson soon piled in, but it is the 14-year-old basketball player from Newham in east London who looks set to become the iconic image of London's campaign.

Two years of blood, sweat and tears replaced by an instantaneous dose of joy and pain

Several IOC members admitted after the dramatic vote, which saw London edge out Paris by 54 to 50, that the presentations had made the difference.

Having trailed the French capital since the very start of the campaign, bid leader Seb Coe and his strategists had conjured up a masterstroke at the death to ensure they dipped over the line just ahead of their French rivals.

You could say it was the moment the lights went from Amber to green.

Paris had kicked off the day with a presentation devised by Hollywood director Luc Besson, which presented all its key messages and threw in some slick camera trickery for good measure.

It was less spectacular than expected, but it was clear London would have to come up with something pretty special to overhaul the favourite.

And it did.

Amber Charles and bid chairman Lord Coe
Amber Charles was a key figure in the London 2012 bid

After an entertaining show from New York and an unspectacular one from Moscow, the anticipation grew as the clock ticked down to London's turn.

And, when a film of young children from around the world being inspired by television pictures of a London 2012 Games started rolling, you got the feeling Olympic history might just be in the making.

With Amber sitting on the top table and 30 other mini Eastenders in the hall, the message was bold and striking.

It hit home, and Madrid could not raise the bar any further.

Suddenly the talk in the corridors was that London was edging ahead, and the tension grew to fever pitch when the two arch-rivals were left to contest the final round of voting.

When the Paris team were seen smiling and patting each other on the back near the main hall, you wondered if they knew something everyone else did not.

Chants of "Paris, Paris" began to fill the air as a crowd gathered in the central foyer of the Raffles City Convention Centre two floors below.

Journalists crammed together to watch the climax on screens outside the hall, while inside most cameramen set up camp in front of the French.

You could feel the hearts start to pound as Rogge fumbled with the envelope, and then it was chaos.

Two years of blood, sweat and tears replaced by an instantaneous dose of joy and pain, depending on what side of the Channel you come from.

As Coe and co sat down for their victory news conference, the grey-suited Paris team were still in the hall, slumped in their seats and unable to believe they had failed to get the Games for the third time in 20 years.

A beaming Colin Jackson said he had "cried like a baby", and decathlon hardman Thompson admitted even he had been welling up.

Jackson then suggested Beckham's own kids might be competing for medals in London 2012.

After what had just happened, anything seemed possible.


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