Organisers defend London bid against error rumours

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The Independent Online

The organisers of the 2012 London Olympics insist the city won the right to host the Games "fairly and squarely" after suggestions a potentially decisive vote was cast in error by the Greek International Olympic Committee delegate Lambis Nikolaou.

"There are lots of folklore stories about who voted for whom, but the vote was a secret ballot," said a spokeswoman for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. "Speculating on voting processes in a secret ballot is pointless. What matters is that London won the right to host the Games fairly and squarely and we look forward to hosting the best Games ever in 2012."

A senior International Association of Athletics Federations source admitted there were rumours in Singapore that one of the IOC members had voted late, possibly in the third round. "If that was the case Madrid and Paris would have had 32 votes each but that was not taken into account," said the source, who was present in Singapore.

"Although it has been talked about, everything is based upon a rumour."

A spokesman for the IOC added that there were currently no plans to review the voting system ahead of the ballot for the 2016 Games.

Referring to the third round of voting exchanges in Singapore in July, Alex Gilady, a senior IOC official, provoked the debate by saying, "London was ahead, but Paris and Madrid were 33-31 in the votes.

"Let's say that one member made a mistake and voted for Paris rather than Madrid. If he had voted for Madrid it would be 32-32. We would have to have had 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 to win." In the final round of voting, London beat Paris 54-50 to win the right to host the 2012 Olympics.

Feliciano Mayoral, the chief executive officer for the Madrid bid, which would have succeeded if Gilady's analysis is correct, said: "We were very close to winning. We can never know if the Greek vote would have been decisive. It is lamentable."