Michael Payne, the former marketing head for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), reportedly thinks that Paris is not a runaway favourite in the race for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
Payne told the Evening Standard “London keeps raising its games. I am pleasantly surprised. There is a long way to go but this is the most open race for 20 years”.
He added, “there is not a favourite like Beijing was for the 2008 Games. That doesn’t mean that Paris is not the favourite, but there is everything to play for. You don’t necessarily want to be the favourite in an open race with six months to go. I get the impression that many IOC members are just now beginning to focus on this race”.
Payne said there had been a perception in the IOC with previous bids by Manchester and Birmingham that the government had not been supportive. “People are realizing now that the government is really behind it. They are getting the impression that this is for real”.