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London launches 2012 Olympics bid

Story: Jack Foley

TOURIST landmarks in London are to form the centrepiece of the capital's 2012 Olympic Games bid, which was officially unveiled at a glittering event in Covent Garden on Friday, January 16, 2004.

As part of the proposals for the games, which will be pitted against bids from Paris (the bookies’ favourite) and Rio De Janeiro, Wembley, The Millennium Dome, Wimbledon, and Lord's will be transformed into leading sporting venues.

Organisers also envisage competitors descending on Hyde Park, for the triathlon and road cycling, while showpiece events such as beach volleyball could take place in Horse Guards Parade, and baseball and softball in Regent's Park.

Wembley Stadium, which is currently being rebuilt, could play host to both men's and women's football finals, while Wimbledon, inevitably, would play host to the tennis event.

Cardiff’s showpiece Millennium Stadium, currently used for the FA Cup Final and other prestigious football finals, could be used for earlier rounds, along with Glasgow’s Hampden Park, Windsor Park, in Belfast, and Manchester’s Old Trafford.

Cricket bats could make way for archery at Lord's, while the main Olympic Park, in lower Lea Valley, could house an 80,000-seat stadium, for athletics and the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as an aquatic centre, the Olympic village, hockey stadium and a multi-sport complex for basketball, handball, volleyball and modern pentathlon events.

The dis-used Millennium Dome could be given the chance to shine once more, by being used for artistic gymnastics, trampolining, basketball and handball finals, while Greenwich Park would host the equestrian, modern pentathlon riding and running events.

Alexandra Palace, which is currently a popular concert venue, would host fencing competitions, while Eton College Rowing Centre, at Dorney Lake, would take on rowing and flatwater canoeing

The Olympics bid was submitted to the International Olympic Committee on Thursday (Jan 15) and properly unveiled to the world’s media the following day.

Its organisers were keen to stress that the proposals for the Olympic Park, especially, offer the most compact venue ever proposed to the International Olympic Committee, with many of the 28 sports being within 15 minutes of the athletes’ village and just a seven-minute train ride from central London.

"Our people, especially the young, will benefit from new facilities," explained bid chairwoman, Barbara Cassani. "Our next generation of athletes will be better equipped to develop into future Olympians.

"Our Games will deliver the best for athletes. A compact Olympic Park with easy access from living quarters to competition venues. Competitors will be inspired to deliver personal best performances against the backdrop of London's world-famous landmarks."

Aside from the frontrunners Paris and Rio de Janeiro, bids have also been received from New York, Moscow and Madrid.

London wins Olympics bid!

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