LONDON – A senior Olympic official says a misplaced vote might have helped London win the 2012 Olympics. Alex Gilady said Friday a fellow International Olympic Committee member mistakenly voted for Paris rather than Madrid in July for the right to host the games. Another vote for Madrid might have stopped London from winning.
Gilady, an Israeli and member of the London 2012 Coordination Commission, acknowledged there was no way to know for sure what would have happened.
"This is an assumption but a very serious assumption," Gilady said told The Associated Press.
In an earlier interview with Israeli Army Radio, Gilady said the unidentified delegate wanted to change his vote after apparently forgetting which city he chose.
The delegate apparently was Lambis Nikolaou, president of the Greek Olympic Committee. He complained after the third round of voting he did not have time to register his choice, but his objection was dismissed and it was shown all votes had been cast.
His secretary, who did not want to be identified, told the AP on Friday that Nikolaou was aware of the report but did not wish to comment.
All IOC members had rehearsed the voting procedure in Singapore before the first round and had about a minute to choose. The members had to press keys representing the cities and then confirm or cancel their choice by pressing a separate key.
"We don't comment on IOC members' voting intentions and it is irrelevant," IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said.
Paris received 33 votes to Madrid's 31 in the third round, eliminating the Spanish capital. Moscow and New York were eliminated in the first two rounds. Had Madrid gotten the vote rather than Paris, the cities would have tied with 32 each, seven fewer than London, and entered a tiebreaker. London beat Paris 54-50 in the final round.
"I'm afraid that this is the kind of tittle-tattle that happens after many an IOC vote," Craig Reedie, a British member of the IOC and the former British Olympic Association chairman, told the BBC.
"If you're looking for reasons for London's win, I suspect you should probably look at the quality of the bidding effort that went in in Singapore and the quality of the lobbying effort," he added.
Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said Gilady's account might bode well for any future bid by the Spanish capital.
"We're totally convinced that when Madrid bids again ... that not even a stray vote could sway the result," Ruiz-Gallardon said.