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London Wins Right to Host 2012 Olympics


London has edged out Paris in the competition to host the 2012 Olympics Games. The margin of victory was only four votes, but that was enough for London to defeat rival Paris and be named the host of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge ended the race with this announcement in Singapore: "The International Olympic Committee has the honor of announcing that the games of the 30th Olympiad in 2012 are awarded to the city of London."

London and Paris had been early favorites. When the voting started, Moscow, New York and Madrid were quickly eliminated.

London has hosted the games twice, the last time in 1948. Paris has not been the scene of the games since 1924.

In Singapore, London's mayor Ken Livingstone is already talking about starting work for the world's biggest sporting event: "We promise that we will give the world the best games they have ever had."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, soccer star David Beckham, and Princess Anne did some vigorous, last-minute lobbying with IOC members during the past two days.

London's campaign stressed the creation of a "legacy," saying the games would allow rejuvenation of a rundown part of the city. British officials say they will take advantage of existing arenas such as the All-England Tennis Club - home of Wimbledon - and Regent's Park for softball and baseball. But they will have to build an 80, 000seat Olympic stadium.

Officials promised to complete all venues a year and a half before the games. The city is budgeting nearly three-billion dollars for the games, and the British government has promised to chip in another four billion.

Mr. Livingstone says what tipped the scale in favor of London was its concept of reaching out to young people across the world who dream of becoming future Olympians: "We need to remember that the games is about giving people a chance to achieve their physical and intellectual best. And that is what our presentation emphasized."

Hundreds of millions of people watch the Olympics, which take place every four years. The games allow the host to show itself off, earn millions from tourism, and spend on major infrastructure projects, such as transportation, which otherwise might not be given high priority.

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