London has won the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games following a dramatic vote in Singapore. In the fourth round of voting among International Olympic Committee members, London pipped Paris by 54-50 to spark wild celebrations among the estimated 11,000 people who had congregated in Trafalgar Square to hear the announcement.
A tense morning in Singapore had seen each of the five bidding cities (the others being New York, Moscow and Madrid) make a final presentation to IOC members before voting began. The first round of voting saw Moscow eliminated, with London narrowly ahead of the other cities. Things changed in the second round with Madrid taking a healthy lead ahead of London and Paris, with New York dropping out. However, another shift in round three saw London take the lead again and Madrid fall by the wayside, before London got the better of the head-to-head with Paris in round four.
IOC President Jacques Rogge, who made the announcement, was the first to congratulate London. ""Well done London," he said. "It will be a superb Games and will strengthen the Olympics."
Earlier in the day, London’s final presentation, led by Bid Chair Sebastian Coe, focused on the impact the Games would have on the younger generations. "London's vision is to reach people, young people, all around the world and connect them with the power of the Games," he said.
"We want to deliver a magical experience and an electrifying atmosphere for competitors and spectators to provide the uplifting sporting occasion which distinguishes the Olympic Games from other sporting events."
Following the announcement, a delighted Coe said: "It is the most fantastic opportunity to do everything we've ever dreamed of in British sport. We have a chance over seven years and way beyond that to change the face of British sport."
The London Olympics will get underway on 27 July 2012, followed by the Paralympics which will start on 29 August. The centrepiece of the Games will be a new 80,000 seat Olympic stadium situated in the Olympic Park, a 500-acre site that will transform Stratford and the surrounding area. The Stadium will host the athletics events, with an Aquatics Centre, Velopark and Hockey Centre also being built in the Park.