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London plugs its stadium as Olympic decision day looms

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DESIGNERS BEHIND London's Olympic bid last week launched a thinly veiled attack on the tadium offered by Paris as part of its competing attempt win the 2012 Games.

They pointed to the fact that London was the only one of the five candidate cities that was offering an Olympic stadium, purpose built for athletics.

'No other bidding city right now has taken this approach, ' said HOK+ Sport + Venue + Event senior principal Rod Sheard.

The attempt to push the London stadium's credentials came as bid teams approached their last week of campaigning.

Most observers put London in second place to Paris in the race to hold the games.

Next Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee is due to vote on which city will host the 2012 Games, at a meeting in Singapore.

Sheard suggested that Paris' Stade de France would be out of date by 2012 and that it would suffer because it was originally designed as a multi-use venue.

Stade de France was built for the 1998 World Cup finals.

Seating will be moved away from the football pitch creating space for an athletics track when in Olympic mode.

Other bidding cities Madrid and Moscow are proposing to use refurbished stadia. New York is planning to use a soon to be built baseball stadium which will be expanded temporarily for the Olympics.

Another architect close to the London bid said Stade de France's sightlines suffered after it was reconfigured for athletics.

Spectators in some parts of the stadium might have to stand to watch runners as they entered the winning straight, he said.

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