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Paris Bids for 2012 Olympic Games

May 21, 2003

PARIS (AP) _ Paris will bid for the 2012 Olympic Games, putting the French capital in competition with New York, London and Madrid, Mayor Bertrand Delanoe announced Wednesday.

The French government immediately said it backed the capital’s bid. Paris last hosted the games in 1924 and in 1900.

Candidate cities must announce by July 15, with the International Olympic Committee making its decision in July 2005.

Leipzig, Germany, Cuba and Moscow are also expected to be contenders. The Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are also possibilities.

Toronto may enter the race if fellow Canadian city Vancouver is not selected to host the 2010 Winter Olympics.

``It is an honor for us to request the 2012 Olympics to be held in Paris,″ Delanoe told a news conference. ``It comes from a desire we all share in Paris and the rest of France to have the games.″

The French minister of sports, Jean-Francois Lamour, said: ``The whole government is behind the mayor,″ including President Jacques Chirac and the prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

While Delanoe said Paris has yet to decide which sports will be held where, officials are expected to propose that beach volleyball be played at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

Equestrian events, including horse jumping, would this time be proposed for the lawns in front of the gilded dome of Les Invalides, where Napoleon is buried.

Despite its romance, Paris was humiliated in its last bid to host the 2008 Olympics that were awarded to Beijing, China. Paris got just 15 votes in the first round and 18 in the second.

News reports have said Paris City Hall had put the cost of hosting the games at $6.9 billion _ nearly twice as much as estimated for the 2008 Olympics.

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