Mandela backs 'diverse' London's Olympics bid

Nelson Mandela has become the latest cheerleader for the campaign to bring the 2012 Olympics to London.

Nelson Mandela has become the latest cheerleader for the campaign to bring the 2012 Olympics to London.

The former South African president became the most famous supporter of any of the five bidding cities when he praised the capital's ethnic diversity yesterday and said it would be unrivalled in its suitability to stage the Games.

"There is no city like London. It is a wonderfully diverse and open city providing a home to hundreds of different nationalities," Mr Mandela said. "I can't think of a better place to hold an event that unites the world." The Nobel Peace Prize winner lends considerable weight to the London campaign at a crucial stage, with 13 weeks until the host is decided.His backing for London is certain to have been influenced by overt support for South Africa's successful 2010 football World Cup bid from the British Government and Football Association.

London 2012 officials hope Mr Mandela's support will convince some African members of the International Olympic Committee to switch support from the bid by Paris, the favourite to win.

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