'Blunder' helped London win the 2012 Olympics

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The Independent Online

A Greek sports administrator was named last night as being responsible for a "blunder" during a key stage of the voting for which city would stage the 2012 Olympics.

Lambis Nikolaou is reported to have pressed the wrong button on a computerised voting pad. Nikolaou, according to a BBC News 24 investigation to be screened on Sunday, thereby eliminated Madrid from the race.

Paris went on to be beaten by London in the final vote. Madrid had also been considered a major threat to London's prospects. Nikolaou, a leading organiser of the Athens Olympics, had protested during the IOC's secret ballot in Singapore in July that he had not been given enough time to register his choice.

Keys on the voting pad represented different cities. Alex Gilady, an Israeli member of the IOC, told the BBC that in the third round a fellow member voted for Paris rather than Madrid in error. Had he voted as he intended, Madrid and Paris would have tied and there would have been a vote-off.

"In the vote-off, all the votes supporting London would go to Madrid because the fear was that Paris had a big chance," Gilady said. "Coming into the final against London, all the votes from Paris would have gone to support Madrid. Madrid would have won."