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  • Putin Uses English For Olympics Speech


    The Moscow 2012 team includes (l-r) gymnastics champion Alexei Nemov, sports director and Olympian Dmitri Sviatkowski, manager Alexander Chernov, Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, PR director Julia Bordovskikh and Moscow bid chair Valery Shantsev.(ATR) 
    (ATR) Russian President Valdimir Putin will break with tradition and deliver a first-ever speech in English by a Russian head of state to the IOC. He'll speak in a video during Moscow's final presentation of its 2012 bid, now hours away in Singapore.

    The linguistic twist was announced by Moscow 2012 bid organizers during a briefing in Singapore on the eve of the IOC vote. Moscow will be the third of the five cities presenting, its turn coming around midday.

    "It is the first time ever any president or any political top leader of Russia or Soviet Union is addressing any official meeting in English," said Moscow 2012 general manager Alexander Chernov. The four-minute video message was taped a week ago.

    "I'm really very proud of my president and his decision, I really see it as very very big news as a journalist," he says.

    In other comments from the press conference, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov says the bid has made "good progress" in Singapore. He says the message has been sent to IOC members that by choosing Moscow they could "change for the better a city, its people and the whole world".

    He says Moscow 2012 will be boosted further tomorrow when Prime Minister, Mikhail Fradkov, joins the delegation.

    Luzhkov says that demonstrates the total commitment of the federal government to Moscow's bid.

    He says President Putin's gesture of addressing IOC members in English is a demonstration of the city's commitment.

    "This shows our commitment, including changing traditions, to bring the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to Moscow. This should be no surprise since we are passionate about sport and the Olympic M
    Media turnout for Moscow's press conference in Singapore was the lowest of the 2012 cities. (ATR) 
    ovement," Luzhkov says.

    Asked about the low interest shown by the western media in the Moscow bid, Luzhkov says he has noticed that that interest had picked up in recent weeks.

    Still he suggested the media was falling into a trap of portraying "the strongest candidate as the weakest."

    The press conference, Moscow's only one in Singapore, unfortunately conflicted with a late scheduled photo opportunity for Muhammad Ali. Drawing more than 100 writers and photographers, the Ali appearance at another hotel likely helped to drive down attendance for Moscow. While barely one-quarter of the 200 seats in the ballroom were filled, the major wire services and a handful of major newspapers did send reporters.

    News from Singapore reported on the scene, throughout this week, only at