Olympics: Paris mayor hits out at Blair and Coe

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Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, still to come to terms with last week’s stunning defeat to London for the right to stage the 2012 Olympics, has accused British Premier Tony Blair and London bid leader Sebastian Coe of breaking the rules.
“I don’t say they flirted (with the yellow line), they crossed right over,” he told his first Paris council meeting on Monday since the Singapore International Olympic Committee session gave the Games to London.

“Victory was decided on something other than Olympism. We had a choice to make, especially as concerns corruption. I accept responsibility for the choice. We didn’t lose on our bid, our respect for the Olympic rules or ethics.”

However, city hall opposition leader Claude Goasguen branded him a bad loser.

“When you accuse somebody you have to prove it. Either London cheated, and you have to come up with a case to remove any doubts. Or London did not cheat and you have to accept defeat,” he said.

“I expected the mayor to be able to avoid this type of malicious accusation directed at a city hit by war and which has proved to the world it has lost none of its courage.”

Paris had been favourites throughout the Olympic campaign but London’s hopes were raised after two days of lobbying by Blair in Singapore and an impressive presentation by Coe to the IOC members.

French Olympic ski legend Jean-Claude Killy said on radio station Europe 1 later on Monday that it was important to congratulate the winner when you lose.

“I am a sportsman and when you lose a competition, you congratulate the winner and say that you will do better next time,” Killy said. “I don’t know exactly what Mr Delanoe said and I doubt he would have gone that far.

“I have great respect for him and that will not change. He was the bid leader and did a remarkable job.”