2012 London, Great Britain

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games, officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad, will take place in London, England, United Kingdom, from 27 July to 12 August 2012.

Following a bid headed by former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe, London was selected as the host city on 6 July 2005 during the 117th IOC Session in Singapore, defeating Moscow, New York City, Madrid and Paris. London will become the first city to officially host the modern Olympic Games three times, having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948.

While budgetary considerations for the games have generated some criticism, they have also been welcomed by others as having prompted a redevelopment of many of the areas of London in which events are to be held – particularly themed towards sustainability. The main focus of the games will be a new 200 hectare Olympic Park, constructed on a former industrial site at Stratford in the east of London. The Games also make use of many venues which were already in place before the bid.

With the bid submission deadline of 15 July 2003, nine cities had submitted bids to host the 2012 Olympics. These cities were Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig, London, Madrid, Moscow, New York City, Paris and Rio de Janeiro.

On 18 May 2004, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as a result of a scored technical evaluation, reduced the number of cities to five: London, Madrid, Moscow, New York, and Paris.

All five cities submitted their candidate file by 19 November 2004, and were visited by the IOC inspection team during February and March 2005. The Paris bid suffered two setbacks during the IOC inspection visit: a number of strikes and demonstrations coinciding with the visits and a report coming out that one of the key members of the Paris bid team would face charges over alleged corrupt party political finances.

On 6 June 2005, the IOC released its evaluation reports for the five candidate cities. Although these reports did not contain any scores or rankings, the evaluation report for Paris was considered the most positive, now followed closely by London which had narrowed down most of the gap observed by the initial evaluation in 2004 regarding Paris. Also New York and Madrid obtained very positive evaluation reports.

Throughout the process, Paris was widely seen as the favourite to win the nomination, particularly as this was its third bid in recent history. Originally London was seen lagging Paris by considerable margin; however, this started to improve with the appointment of Sebastian Coe as new head of London 2012 on 19 May 2004. In late August 2004, some reports started emerging predicting a London and Paris tie in the 2012 bid. I

n the final run-up to the 117th IOC Session, London and Paris appeared to be increasingly in a neck-and-neck race. On 1 July 2005, Jacques Rogge, when asked who the winner would be, told the assembled press: “I cannot predict it since I don’t know how the IOC members will vote. But my gut feeling tells me that it will be very close. Perhaps it will come down to a difference of say ten votes, or maybe less”.

On 6 July 2005, the final selection was announced at the 117th IOC Session in Singapore. Moscow was the first city to be eliminated, followed by New York and Madrid. The final two cities left in contention were London and Paris. At the end of the fourth round of voting, London won the right to host the 2012 Games with 54 votes, defeating Paris’s 50. The celebrations in London were short-lived, being overshadowed by terrorist attacks on London’s transport system less than 24 hours after the announcement.

Athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) are expected to participate. The Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee, which had planned to continue functioning after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, had its membership withdrawn by the IOC Executive Committee at the IOC session of June 2011. However, Dutch Antillean athletes who qualify for the 2012 Olympics will be allowed to participate independently under the Olympic flag.