Three years have already passed since London narrowly pipped Paris by 54 votes to 50 to secure the right to host the 30th summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. Paris was strongly tipped to secure the vote in Singapore with Madrid, London, New York and Moscow making up the numbers. Paris had submitted a compelling bid and possessed the experience of delivering Olympic Games in 1900 and 1924, and yet, London came from behind to win. Commentators and analysts began debating what had made the difference for London. Some pointed towards the ‘inspirational’ video that formed part of the London bid showing how any child with a dream, regardless of their background, can become an Olympian. Alternatively, was it Princess Anne inviting International Olympic Committee (I.O.C) members to Buckingham Palace should London be awarded the games. We will never know why 54 I.O.C members chose to vote the way they did, but I am sure that the words of Seb Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee, made a significant difference.
A window to a new world
Coe told the story of how as a 12-year old he and the rest of his class were put in front of a small black and white television in the school hall to watch John Sherwood, a local athlete, win a bronze medal at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. As he sat and watched, his life changed. ‘A window to a new world opened; at that moment I knew what I wanted to be, I knew what I wanted to do’ Coe told I.O.C members. Twelve years later, Coe himself, was an Olympic Champion, when he stormed to victory at the Moscow games.