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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin to Push Moscow's Olympic Bid

APMayor Yury Luzhkov answering reporters' questions at a news conference at Russia House in Singapore on Tuesday.
SINGAPORE -- Moscow is relying on its presentation to sway delegates to at least look at its bid and give it a shot at hosting the 2012 Games.

Moscow held its lone news conference Tuesday ahead of the International Olympic Committee vote, revealing that President Vladimir Putin would address the 100-odd delegates by video -- the first time ever a leader of the Kremlin has made a speech in English.

Putin has decided not to make the trip to Singapore to join the final frenzy of lobbying, unlike his European counterparts: British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

International Olympic Committee members will select among Paris, London, Madrid, New York and Moscow on Wednesday.

Russia has brought a string of homegrown Olympic gold medalists to Singapore, but none has the pulling power that other bid cities boast as intense lobbying continued at the hotel adjacent to the convention hall where votes will be tallied on Wednesday.

"It's too late. Everything should have been done by now," said former Olympic swimming champion Alexander Popov, referring to whether rushing celebrities in to swing last-minute votes would work. "A lot will depend on the presentation and how well we can convince the undecided voters."

"The thing is if we don't have a chance, we wouldn't be here. The trick is these days, all the cities can host the Olympic Games, its just a matter of presenting the ideas and strategies."

If Moscow wins, Mayor Yury Luzhkov said he would leap so high, "I'll try to break the world record in the high jump."

Luzhkov blamed the Western media for allegedly tarnishing Moscow's bid by calling it the weakest. "There are some in the media who are trying to create the impression that Moscow was a weak candidate," Luzhkov said. "There is a desire to portray the strongest competitor as the weakest one."

The IOC's evaluation report in May cited a "lack of detailed planning" in the Moscow bid file. Moscow last hosted the Olympics in 1980. Officials have said the 2012 Games would help Moscow and Russia spread their new image.

"Moscow has done the city development plan. Moscow already wins," said Popov, himself an IOC member. "It's a fully European megapolis."

Local support for Moscow's bid has declined over the past year, according to an opinion poll released Tuesday. The poll by VTsIOM of 1,594 people throughout the country, conducted June 25-26, found that 25 percent of those surveyed said money spent on the Olympics would be better used for addressing social problems.

About 29 percent believed having the games in Moscow would improve the country's prestige and ability to attract foreign investment. Last year, 34 percent thought so, VTsIOM said.

 Chechen rebel warlord Shamil Basayev warned Tuesday that athletes would not be safe if Moscow hosted the 2012 Olympics.

"Moscow is the capital of a state at war, and this city is therefore a zone of legitimate military operations for our fighters," he said on the Kavkaz Center web site. "In this situation, no one can guarantee athletes' safety, even if our units carry out the most carefully targeted strikes on Moscow."