The celebrations have begun after London was named the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Singapore earlier today.
Moscow, New York and Madrid were eliminated from the contest in the opening three rounds of voting by the IOC members, leaving London and Paris to battle it out for the ultimate prize.
Paris had been the long-time favourites to host the 30th Olympiad, but support for London has been growing in momentum over recent weeks. Effective lobbying by the bid team, Tony Blair and many British sporting greats in the final days running up to the vote appears to have given Britain the edge. In the final vote London received 54 votes, to Paris’s 50.
The general atmosphere was tense prior to the announcement by IOC President Jacques Rogge, although the British bid team appeared fairly relaxed. On hearing the news on the global TV announcement, London’s supporters both in the UK and Singapore went wild.
London’s success was believed to be in part due to the bid team’s fantastic final presentation to the IOC, which was led by Lord Sebastian Coe and included a speech by Tony Blair and a message from the Queen, delivered by Princess Anne.
In his video presentation the Prime Minister said: “Our vision is to see millions of young people participate in sport and improve their lives. London has the power to make this happen.”
Thousands enjoyed a “thank you” party in Leicester Square, which included a fly past by the Red Arrows.
The British Equestrian Federation said it was “delighted” by the news that the Games were coming to London.
Andrew Finding, BEF chief executive, said: “We are of course thrilled at London’s success. We look forward with great enthusiasm to working with the FEI and all national federations in the lead up to London 2012, where we will extend the warmest of welcomes to the international sporting community”
Will Connell, World Class Performance director, added: “This is fantastic news for sport in this country and from an equestrian point of view will give us the chance to underline this country as one of the leading equestrian nations in the world.
“However, there are challenges ahead; we must first deliver in 2008 and then recognise that the public expectation will be for British success across all sport in 2012. Owners, riders, support staff, sponsors and volunteers will all be part of meeting this public expectation. I am certain that we can utilise the excitement and privilege of hosting the greatest show on earth and show the world that we know how to win.”
This will be the third time London has hosted the Olympic Games. It hosted the prestigious sporting event in 1908 and 1948. The 2012 equestrian events will take place in Greenwich Park, which was chosen because it fulfiled the requirements of being a central, cost effective and iconic venue which will show the excellence of equestrian sports against a stunning backdrop.