London through to Olympics shortlist

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The Independent Online

London cleared its first hurdle in its bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games today.

London cleared its first hurdle in its bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games today.

It is one of five cities shortlisted as official candidates to host the greatest sporting event in the world, the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, confirmed.

London, Paris, New York, Moscow and Madrid were "unanimously" voted to become candidate cities, Jacques Rogge, IOC president, said.

Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig and Rio were were knocked out of the race.

All the bidders were judged on the answers they gave in January to a 50-page detailed IOC questionnaire on how they would stage the Games.

Cities still in running for the games

LONDON

London's bid to stage the Games focuses on a proposed Olympic park in Stratford, east London, which would host 17 sports. Barbara Cassani, the bid leader, is also stressing the international appeal of venues such as Greenwich Park and Horse Guards Parade, the improbable proposed site of beach volleyball. Written proposals submitted to the International Olympic Committee in January have clearly impressed, with London ranked as the front-runner, alongside Paris. A potential Achilles' heel for London is Britain's lack of representation at the presidential level of international sports federations that are often at the heart of sports politics. A further weakness may be the lack of major international events in Olympic sports staged in this country.

Odds: 9/4

PARIS

Currently the leading contender with London, the French capital has gained in gravitas after the successful hosting of the 1998 World Cup and last year's World Athletics Championships. The majority of the events would be staged in two clusters on the edge of the city, while the beach volleyball is due to take place under the Eiffel Tower. Critics argue that, while the Stade de France more than suffices as a main stadium, local transport built for the World Cup may not satisfy Olympic needs.

Odds: 11/8

MADRID

Timing is everything and the fact that Barcelona hosted the Games in 1992 is sure to count against Madrid which has been trying to stress how different it is from the Catalonian capital. Madrid has chosen as its unique selling point a plan to stage the most environmentally friendly Games. Bid leaders have also sought to stress the importance of public transport - much of which is already in place - over cars, a high-risk strategy in the face of a limousine-loving IOC.

Odds: 7/1

NEW YORK

The only major "world capital" not to have staged the Games, but parts of the IOC are anti-American due to the chaoticAtlanta Games and the scandal over the awarding of the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City. Itis home to the TV networks that bankroll the Games.

MOSCOW

Economic instability and the threat to security posed by Chechen rebels are reckoned to be the Muscovites biggest difficulties in surviving today's cut. However, Moscow's influence at the IOC continues due to its sports funding of the former Soviet satellite states.

Odds: 20/1

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