Bidding For The 2012 Summer Olympic Games
It was the first week in July 2005, the 6th day to be precise. The place was the Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore. The special occasion was the 117th Ordinary Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The purpose was to meet and vote to pick the location to host the XXX modern Summer Olympic Games.
At the start, there had been 9 cities competing to hold the 2012 Olympic Games. On the 18th May 2004, these were reduced to 5 main candidates. Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig and Rio de Janeiro had been unsuccessful in their aims to influence on technical factors and were purged from the continuing procedure.
Five names were put forward to the ultimate voting procedure. The cities chosen for the eventual ruling were London, Madrid, Moscow, New York and Paris. Of these, the French capital carried the weight of being the most fancied.
So, the fated day in 2005 finally arrived and the IOC convened in Singapore to execute a decision that would carry with it vast financial ramifications.
The process was easy. Each of 104 entitled IOC attendees would take part in a consecutively held number of secret votes. After each ballot, if no candidate city had accomplished an conclusive majority of the votes cast, the city with the least votes would drop out and a sequential ballot be taken.
After some tense rounds of voting, the 3 topmost candidates emerged from the five short-listed nominees. London, Madrid and Paris. Moscow had fallen at the first ballot and New York was eliminated after the 2nd vote. The two superpowers of world politics would play no further role in the voting contest!
In spite of the fact that Madrid and London had both polled greater votes than Paris in the first two ballots, the French capital was still looked upon by many as the favourite to secure the eventual prize. Due to the intricacies of the voting strategies of some IOC delegates, at the next to last voting stage, Madrid, which had topped the 2nd ballot with 32 votes, was eliminated polling just 31 votes. This left London opposing Paris in the final ballot.
The widely held assumption of the press and professional soothsayers was that Paris "was inevitably to be selected".
London's bid had previously been evaluated as having many positive elements in reports drawn up by the IOC in 2004 and 2005. However, the general opinion within the various IOC evaluation committees was that Paris held the advantage over its cross-channel opponent.
The recent past also appeared to be against Britain. Prior bids by Birmingham (1992) and Manchester on two occasions (1996 and 2000) had all been unsuccessful. The auguries were not good.
Paris, on the other hand, had bid for the 1992 Summer Olympics and then again in 2008, when it came a fighting 3rd behind hot favourite Beijing. The general thinking in the run up to the 117th IOC Session was that Paris was due a triumphant bid.
The eventual resolution is now history. Celebrations by the British team within the Convention Centre were more than matched by untamed cries of joy from a sizable crowd enjoying the proceedings live on vast screens put up in Trafalgar Square, Central London. The place of the home crowd was, maybe, foretelling - the Battle of Trafalgar being perhaps the most recognized of British triumphs over their long time rival.
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Thank you to Shelley for the reminder that Howard Dean will be appearing on ABC.
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