British Prime Minister Tony Blair is among the cast of world leaders and royalty gathering in Singapore for the grand finale of the contest to host the 2012 Olympics.
It has been described as the most fiercely contested and costliest bidding process in the history of the Olympics. The decision will be announced on Wednesday after each of the candidates have made a last presentation to the Olympic Committee. London is up against four other of the world’s great cities – New York, Moscow, Madrid and Paris. President Jacques Chirac and Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe are flying the flag for the French capital. Delanoe said he had been inspired by his home city’s bid and the fact that there had been no denigration of other candidates. He said all the rivals of Paris had their attractions but that he believed the French capital stood out. Queen Sofia of Spain is there offering Madrid some regal representation. New York has flown in Hilary Clinton, Muhammad Ali and the city’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Paris and London have been tipped as the frontrunners. Whatever happens, four of the five delegations will be going home to face massive bills for their respective bids and, perhaps, recriminations.