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  • Blair Boost for London Olympics Bid


    07/05/05

    Tony Blair and Sebastian Coe in Singapore. 
    (ATR) With less than a day to the IOC vote on the 2012 Olympics, British Prime Minister Tony Blair is pushing hard for London. Sources tell Around the Rings he's met with more than 20 IOC members since arriving two days ago in Singapore.

    He has to leave before the IOC vote on Wednesday to host the G-8 summit in Scotland.

    In remarks to a crowded news conference Tuesday morning, Blair says his message to IOC members involves the legacy the Olympics will bring to London.

    "The spirit of London 2012 will be the best of the spirit of the Olympic movement - a love of sport, a belief in the ability of sport to bring people together, to educate, to enhance people's lives and a complete determination that if we are fortunate enough to host the Olympic Games we build something that doesn't just last for the few weeks of the Olympic Games, but lasts for a generation to come."

    Blair appeared with bid chair Sebastian Coe and Australian Olympian Cathy Freeman at the press conference. Of the four heads of government attending the IOC meetings, Blair may have played the best hand, arriving well ahead of his colleagues from France, Spain, Russia, giving him more time to campaign for the British bid.

    Regarding any tensions between him and French President Jacques Chirac, Blair dismisses the possibility of a spat with Chirac in Singapore during the short period in which their paths may cross.

    "I?m not going to disparage anybody," he says.

    "I don?t disrespect the
     
    other cities that are bidding, I think everyone's doing their level best and we should approach it in the right and diplomatic spirit, which I will do."

    Chirac is expected to appear at the opening of the IOC session tonight and will take part in Paris presentation on Wednesday before flying off to join Blair at the G8 summit.

    Also on hand to help with London's last-minute lobbying is former London 2012 chair Barbara Cassani. An American-born businesswoman, Cassani stepped aside as chair last year to make way for current chair Sebastian Coe. Since then she has stayed in the background as vice chair.

    On the scene coverage is the best coverage! Reports from Singapore continue through the week at www.aroundtherings.com.