Cherie Blair played pivotal role in securing London 2012 Olympics after attacking French President Jacques Chirac 'like a banshee', says Sebastian Coe
Cherie Blair played a pivotal role in securing the 2012 Olympic Games for London, Sebastian Coe has claimed.
According to Lord Coe, who headed Locog, Mrs Blair launched an “Exocet” attack on then French President Jacques Chirac over disparaging remarks he made about British food, forcing him to leave a party early and allowing her husband to woo Olympic officials.
She went at Mr Chirac “like a banshee”, Lord Coe has claimed in his autobiography. He said that her attack “played straight into our hands” as the President beat a hasty retreat from the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) reception for delegates.
Mrs Blair took offence to Mr Chirac’s comments which mocked Britain’s food as being better only than that of Finland. Mr Chirac reportedly joked to President Putin of Russia and Gerhard Schröder, Angela Merkel’s predecessor as the German Chancellor: “You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that. After Finland, it’s the country with the worst food.”
And, in the book Running My Life, Lord Coe wrote: “I spotted Cherie heading like a heat-seeking missile towards the French contingent. Above the hubbub her voice rang loud and clear. ‘I gather you’ve been saying rude things about our food’, she said, at a volume that would have done justice to a packed courtroom. Her husband, who could hear as well as I could, had assiduously turned away.”
He said Mr Chirac advised her not to “believe every-zing you read”, but Mrs Blair shot back: “I didn’t read it. I saw it on television.” He said Mrs Blair was “really getting stuck in” and he wrote: “‘The thing about my wife,’ Tony said, still turned away from the action, ‘is that when she says something, she really means it.’”
Mr Chirac, whose country’s bid to hold the Games in Paris was turned down at the expense of London, left quickly without meeting anyone “who really mattered”, Lord Coe wrote. He added: “he couldn’t get out of that building fast enough”.
London eventually won the right to host the Games and the British delegation “just erupted”, Lord Coe wrote. In the book, which is being serialised by the Times newspaper, he added: “My first thought was, ‘have I heard this correctly?’ ... Everybody was jumping around, hugging each other. I will never forget the expression on the faces of the IOC members looking down on us from the stage. Some of them looked utterly shell-shocked.”
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...