The Olympic dream

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The Independent Online

No one can accuse Britain's powers-that-be of not pulling out all the stops in support of London's Olympic ambitions. The visiting International Olympic Committee delegates were treated to dinner with the Queen (sans French wine), a Downing Street reception, a party in Parliament and tours of an embarrassingly spick and span London with traffic lights phased to wave them metaphorically through. Even the weather complied: cool and clear, sunshine and showers - with one afternoon of heavy mist over Docklands to satisfy those who read Dickens at school and hankered after the atmospherics of Foggy Albion. On the side, we offered some robust entertainment in the form of Ken Livingstone refusing to apologise for a regrettable late-night lapse of judgement.

No one can accuse Britain's powers-that-be of not pulling out all the stops in support of London's Olympic ambitions. The visiting International Olympic Committee delegates were treated to dinner with the Queen (sans French wine), a Downing Street reception, a party in Parliament and tours of an embarrassingly spick and span London with traffic lights phased to wave them metaphorically through. Even the weather complied: cool and clear, sunshine and showers - with one afternoon of heavy mist over Docklands to satisfy those who read Dickens at school and hankered after the atmospherics of Foggy Albion. On the side, we offered some robust entertainment in the form of Ken Livingstone refusing to apologise for a regrettable late-night lapse of judgement.

We hope and trust the Mayor's antics have not tarnished London's bid. Surely the merits of our cosmopolis will eclipse Ken's ill-timed indiscretion. London may have started slowly, weighed down by our British tendency not to get too excited about anything. But enthusiasm is spreading and the bookmakers are cutting odds. We dare to believe that Paris may not be such a dead cert after all.

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