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THE presentations by the five cities bidding for the 2012 Olympics, which began at 9am Singapore time (2am in London) are considered so crucial that they could decide the outcome of this tight race.

Presentations might not win votes but can lose them, as Salzburg discovered in Prague two years ago. The favourites to stage the 2010 Winter Olympic Games were eliminated in the first round of voting after their presentation focused on the culture of the Austrian city, rather than the practicalities of staging the Games.

This time all five bidding cities have kept their presentation plans secret, as any leaks could give the opposition an advantage.

However, Moscow, fearing that they will be knocked out in the first round, announced at a press conference yesterday that their presentation would make history, with President Putin speaking in English in public for the first time. Putin, who is not in Singapore, will use a video link and Moscow’s mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, the bid leader, will also speak in English.

The rest of Moscow’s presentation — which like all the other cities’ will last for 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of questions from members of the International Olympic Committee, will follow the traditional pattern of a video film accompanied by speeches.

London is also expected to follow this pattern. We already know that Sebastian Coe, the bid leader, will attempt to tug at the heart strings of the Olympians in a speech recalling how his Olympic quest began at the Mexico Games in 1968.

New York are expected to make an emotional pitch to try to convince IOC members that they should get the Games, despite the stadium problems they have experienced.

Paris, as befits the city which has long been the front-runner, pondered long and hard on whether their presentation should be in French on English. Both languages have been tried, without significant advantage, at various presentations to Olympic meetings in the run-up to the Singapore vote.

It will feature a video by the French film-maker Luc Besson, who plans to stress actions rather than words.

Madrid, who have tried without success to use humour in previous presentations, are likely to adopt a more traditional approach.

© Mihir Bose

      

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