Triathlon in Hyde Park if London wins Olympics

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Indy Politics

Olympic events would be spread across London and other parts of the country if the capital wins the right to host the 2012 Games, organisers of the bid said yesterday.

In an attempt to stave off criticism that plans are too narrowly focused on a 1,500-acre site in east London, the chair of the Olympic bid, Barbara Cassani, said that a variety of venues could be used. "Tentative plans'' suggested the triathlon could be held in Hyde Park, the marathon throughout the city, tennis at Wimbledon and beach volleyball in Hyde Park. Lord's had also expressed an interest in being involved, Ms Cassani told a press conference to unveil the multinational consortium appointed by the London Development Agency to lead the bid. She said that sailing would be held in Weymouth, Dorset.

Alex Gilady, a member of the International Olympic Committee, recently warned that London would not beat its eight rivals if the bid concentrated too much on the lower Lea Valley, the proposed venue for a stadium and athletes' village.

The approach of the bid, the masterplan for which is being led by the urban design company EDAW, would be green and sustainable, it was announced yesterday. In a bid supported by Ken Livingstone, the London Mayor, EDAW's plans would transform one of the UK's poorest areas into a world-class venue with the creation of 40,000 jobs, 30,000 homes and 1,000 businesses.

Ms Cassani said she hoped to appoint a new chief executive for the bid team later this month or in early September. Having whittled down 2,000 job applicants, she said: "We are currently in the semi-finals for the interviews [about 16 people] and we are on the blocks.''

London's rivals for the event are Paris, New York, Madrid, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Leipzig, Istanbul and Havana. The final vote takes place in Singapore on 6 July 2005.