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  • Olympic Bids Head From Ghana to Spain


    (ATR) Madrid 2012's home turf is the next stop in the international campaign for the 2012 Olympics. Bid teams left Ghana today, some for World Archery Championships in Madrid. All are expected in Almeria for the open of the Mediterranean Games June 24.

    The FITA Archery World Championships will end in Madrid on Sunday, the second world championship hosted by Madrid this year. Next weekend, as many as a dozen IOC members or more are expected in Almeria for the XVth edition of the Mediterranean Games.

    Looking back on Ghana, members of all the teams tell Around the Rings the experience was a plus for their campaigns, despite the technical difficulties encountered by the bids during their presentations Friday to the Association of African National Olympic Committees.

    Philippe Baudillon of Paris says "there is a partnership and cooperation between France and Africa with sports that goes back to 1923," a point he said underscored the bid presentation to ANOCA. IOC member Jean Claude Killy took the podium to speak about the Olympic Village planned in the bid.

    London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe pledged to help Afica secure the Olympics as part of the legacy of a London Olympics in 2012.

    "I hope I will have the opportunity to witness the historic first of an African Olympic Games," Coe told ANOCA.

    Coe also said that London?s bid for 2012 is in compliance with new guidelines for the Games from the IOC to make them more manageable and less costly ? and to leave a legacy.

    "London will use great existing venues and a series of next generation temporary venues that can be relocated. We will use our experience and know-how involving these new re-locatable venues to support the staging of sports events in other parts of the world, including Africa," he said.

    Also appearing with Coe were international relations COO Keith Mills and Olympian Daley Thompson.

    New York City suffered without protest the axing of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's speech to ANOCA over time problems. The city was still able to present its star speakers, including Congolese NBA star Dikembe Mutombo and the city's first African American mayor David Dinkins, who maintains extensive ties to the continent.

    "I think we got our message across," says NYC 2012 leader Dan Doctoroff. He says the delegation from New York shows "how New York will cele
    In Accra: Daley Thompson, boxer Azuma Nelson and London 2012 chair Sebastian Coe. 
    brate Africans and African athletes."

    "Everybody, no matter where they are from will feel at home in New York City," says Doctoroff, repeating a constant theme of the bid.

    Moscow 2012's Alexander Chernov admits "Moscow has not many African athletes to bring to Ghana," but tells Around the Rings Russia offers a long history of support to African nations and sport. In his speech, bid chair and Moscow vice mayor Valery Shantsev called his city a "bridge between East and West."

    Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon noted that "if Madrid is awarded the 2012 Olympic Games, these Games will be the nearest ever to Africa", promising a "linking" between Madrid and Africa.

    Madrid, Moscow and Paris were the only bids that failed to include speakers in Accra with a distinct connection to Africa, although it can be noted Paris Mayor Betrand Delanoe was born in Tunisia. London was the only bid not to bring someone with a mayoral title to the ANOCA meeting.

    Coming June 19, Decision 2005, An Around the Rings Special Edition, complete with a preview of the upcoming IOC Session in Singapore and a scorecard for the July 6 vote on the 2012 host city.