SINGAPORE, 29 June 2005 — Leaders of London’s Olympic bid to host the 2012 Games are counting on an early-bird arrival in Singapore to give them an edge in next week’s IOC vote.
The 20-member team, led by chief executive Keith Mills and bid chairman Sebastian Coe, were the first to arrive here last night, beating Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow.
With July 6 as the IOC selection date, Mills and Coe said their strategy is to leave nothing to chance. The two men even took different planes to make sure an accident such as a plane crash would not derail the quest.
Rehearsing the presentation is primary, Coe said, because the IOC restricted visits to the competing cities.
“We are making sure that we are rehearsed,” he added, determined that the 45-minute presentation will go off without a hitch. “We are leaving nothing to chance.”
The team plans on spending four days on Singapore’s resort island of Sentosa before heading to the city to lobby delegates.
Regarded as one of the greatest Olympic runners, Coe sits in the House of Lords, a legacy of the political career he launched after his retirement from the track.
For those still giving Paris the edge in garnering the 2012 Games, Coe knows all about bouncing back. He went from defeats in the 800 meters at the 1980 Moscow Games and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics — to win the 1,500 meter gold medal within days of his disappointment.
“If we bring home from Singapore the Games for 2012, it would be the greatest thing I’ve been involved in,” Coe told The Straits Times earlier.
Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth, has pledged to lobby publicly on London’s behalf. She will form part of the campaign that will also include Prime Minister Tony Blair and England’s football captain David Beckham, all attempting to persuade the IOC to bring the Games to Britain for the first time since 1948.
Meanwhile, Singapore is increasing security ahead of a meeting of the IOC starting this weekend to pick the host for the 2012 Summer Games, police said yesterday. Several heads of state and sports stars are expected in the city state during the IOC meeting. More than 2,000 officers from Singapore’s army, police and civil defense will be deployed across the island, an officer said. Traffic will be re-routed and barricades set up to prevent any attacks.