It’s London!

by Maria on July 6, 2005

Les rosbifs ont gagne! London has beaten Paris to host the 2012 Olympics. I’m amazed at how happy this makes me. The last two cities I lived in were London and Paris, so for a while there I couldn’t decide which I preferred for the games. Before this week, I was a firm supporter of the Paris bid, believing the city to be far superior to London in infrastructure and the centralised sheer force of will it must take to pull off this event with real panache. I thought (and probably still think) that the construction and transport hell London’s bid involve make it a painful undertaking for Londoners – but no better city to get behind every obscure new sport, every under-dog, and make it an event the whole city mucks in to, with more colour, more culture, a few sharp edges and a hell of a lot more fun.

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Indigo Jo Blogs
07.06.05 at 8:01 am



Jackmormon 07.06.05 at 7:19 am

This New York resident isn’t sorry to have lost…


Jonathan 07.06.05 at 7:25 am

Considering the security-measures that had to be taken in Athens one can’t even imagine the security effort London will have to maken to secure the Olympics.


Sam Dodsworth 07.06.05 at 7:25 am

As a Londoner, may I be the first to say: “F*ck!”


Chris Bertram 07.06.05 at 7:35 am

My thoughts:

1. Hosting the Olympics is a pain in the arse.


2. It did great things for Barcelona.


3. Jacques Chirac will be massively pissed-off.

My considered view veers to (1) but my immediate emotional reaction centres on (3).


Bob B 07.06.05 at 7:38 am

I second Sam.

Spending c. £7bn for a three week sporting event is OTT on any rational benchmark.


Phil 07.06.05 at 7:51 am

Today Paris won; London got the Olympics. We (London residents) must now get ready for years of inconvenience while London turns into a giant construction site, while billions of pounds go down the drain. A sad day for London indeed :(


Maria 07.06.05 at 8:06 am

If I’m entirely truthful about it, Chris’s (3) is the main reason I changed my mind! I do sympathise with Londoners – when I lived there, I was definitely against the bid.

But I think it’s also a victory of London’s organising principle (or complete lack of one) over Paris’. And it’s not a bad idea to remind the rest of the world every few decades how truly extraordinary London is.


engels 07.06.05 at 8:19 am

Jacques Chirac will be massively pissed-off.

I think he may be secretly having the last laugh on us, and his recent “diplomacy” was a calculated plan… Merde!


P ONeill 07.06.05 at 8:27 am

It can’t be good for the G8 though. Chirac was already being petty before the summit so imagine what he’ll be like now. Also, the second guessing in Paris (assuming they wanted it) may well focus on whether the transport workers being on strike during the selection committee visit damaged the bid.


Jonathan Edelstein 07.06.05 at 8:30 am

I’m just glad it wasn’t New York.


des von bladet 07.06.05 at 8:35 am

So the total CT+commentariate support for London amounts to Maria, who was herself an opponent when she lived there.

I was a supporter of the Paris bid, of course, and I am intensely annoyed with Chirac for blowing it.


fjm 07.06.05 at 8:42 am

Does this mean you’d like to rent my house so I can be somewhere else?


nikolai 07.06.05 at 8:44 am

This is an awful day for the UK. Taxpayers will have to underwrite the huge cost of the Games, while the the IOC and Olympic competitors have (convieniently) gained exemption from tax. We have the Olympics Act to look forward to, with the government introducing new laws to help out monopolists. But, on the bright side, the poverty stricken East End of London will be provided with a much needed Velodrome.


McDuff 07.06.05 at 8:59 am

Great! It’s one more thing to pull the already strained UK economy yet further into the distorting, bloated economic pustule on our arse that is the M25 orbital.

One day, people are going to realise that, rather than piling more and more things in London, we should start putting major projects outside in other cities. Pretty soon nobody will be able to get anywhere, and Nottingham will be a suburb of that damned city.


Uncle Kvetch 07.06.05 at 9:11 am

This New Yorker says, “Phew.”


Barry 07.06.05 at 9:11 am

P oneill, considering that Bush’s attitude towards Blair at the G8 is supposed to be ‘sod off, I left your payment on the nightstand’, this G8 was probably going to be strange anyway. Bush has got to have burned up all credibility with the rest of the leaders – they can’t afford to leave themselves vulnerable by trusting him in the slightest.


Barry 07.06.05 at 9:12 am

“Today Paris won; London got the Olympics. We (London residents) must now get ready for years of inconvenience while London turns into a giant construction site, while billions of pounds go down the drain. A sad day for London indeed :(”

Posted by Phil

Phil, you can always spend more time in Paris :)
I’m sure that the summer 2012 season will be very brisk, with London accents heard all around the Seine.


Harriet 07.06.05 at 9:19 am

re Phil’s “London turns into a giant construction site”

I already feel like I’m living in a gigantic construction site – thinking Kings Cross and Stratford rail links, thinking all round St Pauls not so long ago, thinking south bank Southwark.

In other thoughts – I’m strangely excited despite the cost implications.


engels 07.06.05 at 9:20 am

I’m sure that the summer 2012 season will be very brisk, with London accents heard all around the Seine.

So London and Paris will both be uninhabitable? Great.


chris 07.06.05 at 9:24 am

It did great things for Barcelona.

True, but:

– Barcelona is still paying;
– A lot of people in unfashionable areas like Poble Sec got royally stuffed;
– Barcelona needed a high profile event to restore its international status post Franco. London has not yet endured 40 years under a Fascist dictator who forbade the speaking of English.


Brian 07.06.05 at 9:30 am

It did great things for Barcelona.

The more interesting recent comparison is Sydney. The games themselves were a massive success, and Sydney did the things you should do in organising an Olympics (i.e. focus on infrastructure like housing and transport that will improve the city post-Games). It’s probably too early to say, but if the event was a net-plus for Sydney, then it’s proof that it can be good for the host city. If it wasn’t, then London will have to do something spectacular to make it worthwhile.

It was strange seeing the competition come down to cities like London, Paris, Madrid and New York that aren’t exactly short of publicity. Putting Sydney on the wish-list of international tourists was a great by-product of the games. I don’t think London (or any of the others) needs that kind of boost.


reuben 07.06.05 at 9:55 am

the “economic pustule on our arse that is the M25 orbital”


reuben 07.06.05 at 9:59 am

Ok, I’ll try that again…

the “economic pustule on our arse that is the M25 orbital”


reuben 07.06.05 at 10:02 am

Just a note:

The commenting technology on the site seems to be performing as poorly as the Paris bid pitch team right now…


des von bladet 07.06.05 at 10:08 am

No use, Reuben, it still makes your arse look big I’m afraid.


yabonn 07.06.05 at 10:20 am

Splendid :)

Chirac’s is now in a bigger mess even, and some long faces avenge me of these oppressive weeks of olympîc astroturfing. Take that, Mediatic Bozos For 2012 :)

Not only that, but the city will be spared the olympic wastes. Allez Londres, et merci!

… Now let’s get back again to these tramways, buses, hospitals ans whatnots.


abb1 07.06.05 at 11:30 am

What I find curious about this commenting technology here is that once you click that button – your comment will be posted sooner or later no matter what; whether you received a ten feet long page of errors in response or no response whatsoever. It’s capricious yet resilient.


reuben 07.06.05 at 11:42 am

As capricious yet resilient as a pustule on an arse?


abb1 07.06.05 at 1:00 pm

Something like that.



Please 07.06.05 at 3:10 pm

[aeiou]Maria, piss off. I don’t see why they let you post here, you have nothing intelligent to say


Dubya 07.06.05 at 3:14 pm

London has not yet endured 40 years under a Fascist dictator who forbade the speaking of English.

I’m workin’ in it.


des von bladet 07.06.05 at 3:19 pm

Please: Are you the vair ‘ilarious Supermenteur fantroll? It is you that the rest of us could cheerfully do without; my Least Favoured Timb’rite is Ted, whose twin obsessions of USAian political infighting and USAian pop-cultural minutiae both routinely baffle me. But even so I’m by no means rude enough to suggest he should “piss off”. Although you surely should.


John Quiggin 07.06.05 at 4:22 pm

Please disemvowel please


troll 07.06.05 at 4:41 pm

[aeiou] No fantroll, just wonder why these otherwise intelligent bloggers waste their blog space with this woman.

She hates everything and never has anything intelligent to say.

My little sister could do better.


mariafan 07.06.05 at 6:49 pm



ogmb 07.07.05 at 12:31 am

Are they gonna put that Millenium Monster to use?


John Quiggin 07.07.05 at 1:25 am

As Brian says, Sydney was a huge success. Even sceptics like me were sucked into the whole thing in a big way. Canberra, where I lived at the time got some minor events, which generally went well, though there was an amusing incident where some genius decided to import the grass for the soccer pitch from Cairns (look them up on the map!). It promptly died and the response was to paint it green.

Oddly enough, although the Sydney infrastructure worked almsot perfectly for the Olympics, that hasn’t stopped the emergence of huge problems generally attributed to long-term neglect or at least inadequate provision for population growth.


reuben 07.07.05 at 8:50 am

Hope it doesn’t seem gauche to continue talking about the Olympics, but they will happen, so we may as well yammer. If London is to leave a legacy with these Olympics, I’d love to see it be one of extensive regeneration coupled with intelligent long-term finance. Yy figuring out how to put on a games that require lots of new building, yet doesn’t leave the city (and its taxpayers) saddled with white elephants and long-term debts, London could break new ground in Olympic financing and regeneration.

Since Stratford is actually very close to the centre and is on probably London’s most useful and best connected tube line (the glorious central), we may stand a better chance than cities that have had to build further out from their centre.

John, you’d have some insight into Sydney’s experience of this, I’m sure. Any thoughts? It’d be nice to have something to take my mind off what’s going on outside my window right now here in Spitalfields.


Tom Womack 07.08.05 at 2:16 am

Yes, the Millennium Dome will be hosting, umm, gymnastics and basketball. I’m a bit surprised they’re not doing more there, given that it’s so impressive a space.

I’m looking forward to attending the Olympics in my country’s capital, and to seeing what we can do in the way of urban regeneration.

Go England!

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