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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Unlikely victory
Andrew Fraser
By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport in Singapore

Princess Anne and Lord Coe at the Singapore vote
"Have you heard the one about London's Olympic bid...?"
Four years ago, the idea of London hosting the 2012 Olympics was a joke.

Not my view, of course, but that of Ken Livingstone - although the Mayor of London obviously phrased it a little more diplomatically than that.

The expressions on the faces of the British journalists after London's triumph in Singapore said it all.

Even when the whispers in the hours before the vote started telling us London could beat Paris, it scarcely seemed possible.

After all, this was the city that launched its campaign against the backdrop of a failed football World Cup bid, trouble with the new Wembley and the Pickett's Lock debacle.

A nation whose government only decided to launch a bid at the last minute, and whose population had initially been lukewarm at best to the idea of holding the greatest sporting show on earth in its own backyard.

London bid delegates celebrate the result of the vote in Singapore

And a bid which was up against the mighty Paris, seemingly nailed on for 2012 as everyone assumed its persistence in bidding for the third time in 20 years would finally be rewarded.

When businesswoman Barbara Cassani was put in charge in June 2003, International Olympic Committee members wondered why an American was leading a London bid.

She was playing catch-up from the start on all fronts, and we turned up to cover the campaign believing our association with London 2012 would be a strictly short-term arrangement.

That seemed to be confirmed when London was ranked a distant third behind Paris and Madrid 14 months ago, with its transport network branded "obsolete" by the IOC.

That evening at the London Eye, Lord Coe raised a glass of champagne as he vowed to "give his liver" for the cause, and the next day he was in charge.

Coe gave a stunning performance, it was statesmanlike
BBC correspondent John Rawling

Coe picked up the pace for the "final lap", frequently drawing a parallel with his own glittering running career which turned out to be eerily prescient.

We have heard the double Olympic champion's mantra that respect for the athlete is part of his "emotional DNA" countless times in the past week, but his personal touch has helped win over cynics on several fronts.

Even in the final days, it was hard not to wonder whether some unforeseen banana skin might emerge to trip up the bid just as it moved on to the shoulder of the favourite.

And it was impossible to suppress a rush of patriotic pride when IOC chief Jacques Rogge announced that London would stage the 30th Olympiad.

If the Prime Minister can break with protocol for a bit of fist pumping once in a while, then surely we should be allowed a little expression of national pride too.

As a jubilant Sir Steve Redgrave said after the vote, it was even more satisfying than beating the Germans at football - in a penalty shoot-out.




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