SBD/Issue 82/Olympics

Let The Games Begin: London, Paris Launch 2012 Olympic Bids

British Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared at Friday's official launch of London's bid for the 2012 games at the Royal Opera House, according to Duncan Mackay of the London GUARDIAN, who called it "a masterstroke by London organisers to have Blair attend the official launch, especially as Jacques Chirac did not bother to show up for a similar event in Paris" (London GUARDIAN, 1/17). In London, Ashling O'Connor estimated construction costs for the Games "to be in the region" of US$5.4-7.1B. While the IOC warns that host cities "should not be left with expensive, unused constructions after the Games leave town," London 2012 Bid Chair Barbara Cassani said, "We are using temporary facilities where we do not believe there is a need for another facility but we will build permanent facilities where there is a need. There will be no white elephants" (LONDON TIMES, 1/17). Also in London, Simon Hart noted a "global network of paid 'advisers' has been set up, reporting to Detroit-based bid strategy chief Andrew Craig, to gather information about likely voting intentions and provide feedback about the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the London campaign." Former athlete John Boulter is one of the consultants. Boulter is a former exec for adidas and Reebok (London TELEGRAPH, 1/18)

ESPRIT DE CORPS: The FINANCIAL TIMES' Hunt & Arnold reported Paris on Friday "launched its campaign with a star-studded ceremony on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower, at which heavy emphasis was placed on the 'team spirit' uniting all French political sides behind the bid." IOC President Jacques Rogge said of the nine bid cities: "There is the possibility that we will not eliminate any [in May]. The elimination of cities is not an artificial reduction, but a means of weeding out ones which are not ready to organize the games" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/17).

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