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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Cities party in waiting for IOC’s host report

Associated Press

For Paris and Madrid, it was time to party.

One day before the release of a key IOC report evaluating the five candidates for the 2012 Olympics, the two European capitals turned parts of their cities into sports playgrounds on Sunday.

The contest for the 2012 Games enters the final stretch Monday, a 30-day countdown to the International Olympic Committee’s vote for the host city July 6 in Singapore. London, New York and Moscow are the other candidates.

The Champs-Elysees in Paris was lined with wrestling mats, a running track and huge swimming pool. There also were demonstrations of 38 Olympic sports. French dignitaries and sports stars walked along a running track to tout the bid of the city regarded as the front-runner to win the vote.

“The IOC members will have seen these images of mobilization and public merriment, an expression of our love of the games,” French Sports Minister Jean-Francois Lamour said.

In Madrid, more than 1 million joined a daylong street party that featured concerts and fireworks. The main thoroughfare, the Castellana Boulevard, was closed to traffic for sports demonstrations, musical performances and clown shows in tribute to the city’s “Olympic Passion.” Three of Madrid’s landmark buildings have also been illuminated with the colors of the five Olympic rings.

“It will be the best way to show the whole world our passion for sport and our vocation for being awarded the Olympic Games,” Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said.