Bid cities await key International Olympic Committee report

Exactly a month before the vote, five cities awaited a key IOC report Monday that could influence their chances of winning the right to host the 2012 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee was set to issue a 100-plus-page report evaluating the bids of Paris, London, New York, Madrid and Moscow - the most competitive and glamorous field in Olympic bid history.

The report will not rank the cities, but will give an insight into the strength and weaknesses of each bid. It will focus on technical issues such as venues, financing, transport plans, accommodations, security and public and government support.

The findings will serve as a guide for the 117 eligible IOC voting members who will cast secret ballots in Singapore on July 6. However, the vote will also take into account geopolitical and other issues not covered by the report.

A glowing assessment will give a city impetus going into the final stretch, while a negative review could all but kill a bid at this stage.

The report is based on visits to the five cities in February and March by the IOC evaluation commission, headed by Morocco's Nawal El Moutawakel.

On Sunday, Paris and Madrid staged major street festivals to showcase their bids. The Champs-Elysees in Paris was lined with a running track and featured exhibitions of all 28 Olympic sports. In Madrid, more than 1 million turned out for party centered on the main thoroughfare, the Castellana Boulevard.

Paris, considered the favorite from the start, still looks like the city to beat. London is pushing hard and shaping up as the main challenger. New York's bid is tied up in wrangling over a proposed stadium, Madrid is struggling to make an international impact and Moscow remains the long shot.

Moscow last staged the summer games in 1980, the United States in 1996 (Atlanta) and Spain in 1992 (Barcelona). Paris, meanwhile, hasn't held the Olympics since 1924, and London since 1948.

The campaign has been conducted under strict IOC ethics rules enacted after the scandal over cash, scholarships and other inducements given to IOC members during Salt Lake City's winning bid for the 2002 Winter Games. Ten IOC delegates resigned or were expelled.

IOC members have been banned from visiting the 2012 cities, while lobbying and promotion by the bidders was tightly controlled.


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