Rogge, a former Olympic sailor, recalled meeting Coe for the first time in the athletes’ village in Moscow in 1980. That’s where Coe won his first gold medal.
“We couldn’t have dreamed at the time that we would, 25 years later, be signing the host city contract,” Rogge said.
Paris had the perceived advantage of bidding for a third time, especially since the IOC tends to reward persistence. The French capital also had a ready-to-go Olympic stadium in the Stade de France and embraced the IOC’s blueprint for controlling the size and cost of the games.
But not even a personal appearance in Singapore by French President Jacques Chirac could secure victory.
The eliminations in the first three rounds came as no surprise. Moscow was always considered the longshot, with New York and Madrid outsiders. Moscow went out with 15 votes in the first round, New York dropped out next with 16, then Madrid with 31.
Despite being a favorite, Paris never led throughout the voting. The first round was tight, with London getting 22 votes, Paris 21, Madrid 20 and New York 19. Madrid took the lead in the second round with 32 votes, followed by London with 27 and Paris 25. London then picked up a big chunk of New York’s votes to lead Paris 39-33 in the third round. With Madrid’s votes split fairly evenly in the last round, London had enough to win.
But members said London also won favor because its bid offered a long-term legacy, and they cited Coe’s charisma and passion and the appeal of his team’s final presentation to the IOC.
“Two different strategies — the French and the British,” Dutch member Anton Geesink said. “The British, they explained their love of the sport. It is a love affair for Sebastian Coe, that was the difference. Love you can explain, but you can’t sell it.”
Senior Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper said London won because of the way it sold its message in the final hours.
“They delivered on the day,” he said. “The presentation just had that little extra feel.”
London centered its bid on the massive urban renewal of a dilapidated area of East London. It was the fourth bid from Britain after failed attempts by Birmingham for the 1992 Olympics and Manchester for 1996 and 2000.
London got off to a slow start but made big strides under Coe, who replaced American businesswoman Barbara Cassani as head of the bid in May 2004. Coe has said he will stay on to head the organizing committee for 2012.
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