London poised to reveal its Olympic bid after rivals outline plans for 2012

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The Independent Online

London's Olympic rivals revealed the contents yesterday of the hotly disputed bids which they hope will win them the Games in 2012.

London's Olympic rivals revealed the contents yesterday of the hotly disputed bids which they hope will win them the Games in 2012.

The competition to host the event entered a new phase as detailed proposals emerged from London's main challengers. A bold pitch from Paris stated that the French capital was the justified odds-on favourite due to political and public support and the advantage of having much of the infrastructure already in place.

Madrid, which according to polls is competing for second place with London, has chosen the slogan "You'll Love It!" to sell the appeal of the Spanish capital to visitors and environmentalists

New York leaders stopped short of selling the bid as part of a renewal process after the 11 September attacks but staked much on the city's charisma and the proposals for a compact and athlete-friendly Games in which most venues would be within 20 minutes' travel time for competitors.

The details were made public from a highly technical 600-page Games' blueprint, known as the candidate file, which all five bidding cities submitted to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday.

London will make its case to a sceptical public tomorrow and bid leaders spent much of yesterday poring over rivals' proposals, with special attention given to Paris.

Leaders of the Paris bid stressed how well prepared the city already is. Two-thirds of the Paris venues already exist and there is sufficient hotel accommodation for visitors. The city also offers organisational know-how, having staged 24 world championships events involving Olympic sports in the past 10 years. The Games would be concentrated in clusters in the north and west of the city, linked by an existing multi-lane orbital road which puts 80 per cent of venues within 10 minutes' reach of the athletes' village, making transport one of its main strengths. The northern cluster includes the Stade de France which hosted the 1998 World Cup final and 2003 World Athletics Championships and would serve as the main Olympic stadium.

There are concerns at the IOC over the risk of financial overstretch after the Athens Games, and Paris says it would need to build only four new venues, the largest of which would be a 25,000 capacity "Superdome" for gymnastics. The main benefit would be an athletes' village in the rundown Batignolles district which would later be converted to social housing.

Critics noted that, despite claims that much of the infrastructure already exists, Paris's budget was only a fraction less than that of London, which expects to spend £2.375bn including the cost of a new 80,000 capacity stadium. There were also doubts about the quality of the 50,000 jobs that Paris claims an Olympic Games would create.

Philippe Baudillon, the leader of the Paris bid, said that after two campaigns to stage the Games in the past 15 years, the French capital had unrivalled support, including about 80 per cent of the population in favour, according to a survey in Le Parisien newspaper this week. "The Olympics should take place in a country where the people really want it," he said.


Slogan: he Love of the Games

Strength: Experience of staging major international sports events including the 1998 World Cup and the 2003 World Athletics Championships could make it a safe pair of hands. The IOC analysis in May praised its "powerful and dense public rail transport system". With two failed bids, Paris has honed its plan. "It is very difficult to win if you did not have a former bid because you have too many things to solve in too short a time," the bid leader, Philippe Baudillon, said.

Weakness: Critics say that because only four new permanent sports venues are planned, Paris is wanting in terms of the Games' legacy for the international sports community. Some say their bid lacks "fizz", and the Stade de France will be 14 years old by 2012.

Ladbrokes' odds: 1-2 favourite


Slogan: You'll Love It

Strength: Hotels and its reputation as a welcoming city with reasonable prices. It has a good public transport system and motorway and sports facilities are being built or exist. Madrid also has public support of 85 per cent to host the Olympics; only 2 per cent are against.

Weakness: Madrid is dominated by cars and blighted by some of Europe's worst traffic chaos. That could cause problems transporting athletes around sites on the city's fringes. After the 11 March train bombings, security is a huge headache. Madrid sought advice from Barcelona and Athens, but the bid's president, Feliciano Mayoral, insists: "Spain is not an insecure country". Barcelona staged the Games in 1992.

Odds: 4-1


Slogan: Imagine it Now

Strengths: More than 60 per cent of the venues needed for 2012 already exist. Moscow complies with the IOC's wish for the Games to be a catalyst for regeneration. Democracy has transformed Moscow's landscape and its people. In the past 25 years, the city has hosted more than 100 World and European championships.

Weaknesses: Continued worries about terrorism in the wake of the Beslan school massacre. Nearly double the city's hotel capacity would be needed and there are plans to build 230 hotels. Pollution: Moscow's deputy mayor, Valery Shantsev, promised to address the traffic problem. He said new roads and tighter requirements for vehicles would help clean the air.

Odds: 33-1


Slogan: None

Strengths: Most of the major sports clusters are in Manhattan, Flushing, the Bronx and Brooklyn, so the Games will be city-wide with venues close to each other. Iconic venues including Central Park for triathlon and the Yankee Stadium for baseball would play wellwith worldwide television audiences.

Weaknesses: Sympathy for the 11 September terror attacks may have been squandered by the Iraq war. The proposed main Olympic stadium in Manhattan's West Side has met stiff opposition from residents and businesses and has yet to gain planning permission. The experience of the over-commercialised Atlanta Games in 1996 and the corruption-tainted Salt Lake City winter Games in 2002 remain fresh in IOC members' memory.

Odds: 14-1