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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

London Delighted at Olympic Victory

APLondoners celebrating on Trafalgar Square on Wednesday after the International Olympic Committee announced their city would host the 2012 Games.
SINGAPORE -- London was awarded the 2012 Olympics on Wednesday, narrowly 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 54-50 on the fourth ballot of the International Olympic Committee vote, capping the most glamorous bid race in Olympic history.

"I'm looking forward to what I'm sure will be a fantastic Olympic Games," said Prince William, speaking from New Zealand.

Paris had been the front-runner throughout the campaign, but London picked up momentum in the late stages.

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. Paris hasn't hosted the games since 1924.

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. The voting figures were not immediately released.

In London, crowds cheered and waved flags as they watched the announcement from Singapore on a giant screen in Trafalgar Square and in the east London area where the main Olympic complex will be based.

Blair, who spent two days of lobbying in Singapore before leaving to host the Group of Eight summit in Scotland, spoke in a video message -- half of which was delivered in French.

"My promise to you is we will be your very best partners," Blair said. "The entire government are united behind this bid. ... It is the nation's bid."

London centered its bid on the massive urban renewal of a dilapidated area of East London. It was the fourth bid from Britain after failed attempts by Birmingham for the 1992 Olympics and Manchester for 1996 and 2000.