London rolls out the banners for Olympic inspectors' visit

Inspectors from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) arrived in London last night to assess the capital's bid for the 2012 Games amid the trappings of a state visit.

Inspectors from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) arrived in London last night to assess the capital's bid for the 2012 Games amid the trappings of a state visit.

The 13-strong delegation flew into London on separate flights and were treated to a VIP welcome before being driven to their hotel in Canary Wharf to prepare for the inspection, which marks the most important week so far in London's bid.

Hundreds of "Back the Bid" banners were hung at airports and along the route used by the IOC members, and bid leaders unveiled plans for a £22m cycle centre in east London.

The Evaluation Commission, led by a former hurdles champion from Morocco, Nawal el-Moutawakel, will spend four days scrutinising London's plans as set out in the 600-page candidate file. Apart from an exhaustive series of presentations chaired by the bid leader, Sebastian Coe, they will also be taken on a tour of the venues, have lunch with the Prime Minister at Downing Street and be hosted by the Queen for dinner at Buckingham Palace. Their findings will be published a month before the final IOC vote is taken in Singapore on 6 July.

Lord Coe said yesterday that the race to stage the Games, also being contested by Moscow, New York, Madrid and the favourite, Paris, was "too close to call". He said: "I do not think anybody genuinely knows. This is a very, very tight competition ... The judgements that I value, particularly IOC members, say this is too close to call." The delegation will hear from Sir Steven Redgrave and the double gold medallist Kelly Holmes, one of the faces of multi-cultural British sport.

Ms Holmes has flown in from a training camp in South Africa and she said: "I think London should host the Games and I honestly believe we will. I've seen the plans in detail now, and they're absolutely great - the sporting facilities which are planned, the transport structures, the regeneration plans, the job creation schemes."

Polls published yesterday offered little clarification on the level of support for the London bid. A survey for GMTV showed that 59 per cent were against the bid while 41 per cent supported it, a significant drop in public backing in recent polls. An ICM poll for The Guardian showed 52 per cent of people did not believe London could win, versus 39 per cent who thought it would. Ladbrokes have cut London's odds to 3/1. Paris is the 1/4 favourite.

THE IOC INSPECTORS

Nawal El Moutawakel (chair), from Morocco. She won 400m hurdles gold in 1984. Dutch hockey player Els van Breda Vriesman, who is president of the International Hockey Federation. Sprinter Frank Fredericks, from Namibia, who won medals in the 1996 and 1992 Olympics. Mustapha Larfaoui, of Algeria, is president of international swimming. The other members are Simon Balderstone, from Australia, Philippe Bovy, from Switzerland, Bob Elphinston, from Australia, Patrick Jarvis, from Canada, Jose Luis Marco, from Argentina, Ser Miang Ng, from Singapore, Sam Ramsamy, from South Africa, and Games executive director Gilbert Felli.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution