London was awarded the 2012 Olympics on Wednesday, defeating European rival Paris in the final round of voting to take the games back to the British capital for the first time since 1948.
After Moscow, New York and Madrid were eliminated in the first three rounds, London beat its cross-Channel opponent on the fourth ballot of the International Olympic Committee vote — capping the most glamorous and hotly contested bid race in Olympic history.
Paris had been the front-runner throughout the campaign, but London picked up momentum in the late stages with strong support from Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Part of London’s pitch was that it stepped in to help the Olympic movement by staging the games as Europe was still recovering from World War II.
The race had been considered too close to call as an unprecedented collection of world leaders and sports celebrities converged on Singapore to lobby for the bids.
London’s victory handed Paris its third stinging Olympic defeat in 20 years, following failed bids for the 1992 and 2008 Olympics.
IOC president Jacques Rogge opened a sealed envelope and declared the result in a live televised ceremony: “The International Olympic Committee has the honor of announcing that the Games of the 30th Olympiad in 2012 are awarded to the city of London.”
The tan-suited London delegates in the convention hall leaped out of their seats, arms raised in jubilation and cheering wildly.