2012 Olympics: London Calling

Unidentified members of the public react in Trafalgar Square, central London to the International Olympic Committee's announcement from Singapore that London has won the bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, Wednesday July 6, 2005. Candidate cities competing for the Olympic bid were London, Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow. (AP Photo/Jane Mingay)
Britain vs. France. Blair vs. Chirac. Two historic rival cities convinced they were long overdue.

London prevailed — upsetting Paris to secure the 2012 Olympics.

The British capital overcame its cross-Channel opponent 54-50 Wednesday on the fourth ballot of the International Olympic Committee vote, capping the most glamorous and hotly contested bid race in Olympic history.

IOC president Jacques Rogge opened a sealed envelope and declared the result in a live televised ceremony: "The International Olympic Committee has the honor of announcing that the Games of the 30th Olympiad in 2012 are awarded to the city of London."

"A big surprise. A big wow for London," CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

"It might be about to pour rain once again in London, but they're having a very big party down in Trafalgar Square," MacVicar said.

"This is a momentous day for London. It's very good news," British Prime Minister Tony Blair told reporters at the venue for the G-8 summit in Scotland. But he only found out the result when the switchboard at his Downing Street office in London called him. "I couldn't bear to watch the final bit of it," Blair said. He said the games would prove to be a "legacy" for both Britain and the Olympic movement.

"I'm looking forward to what I'm sure will be a fantastic Olympic Games," said Prince William, speaking from New Zealand.

The results of the first three rounds of voting came as no surprise. Moscow, always considered the longshot, was eliminated first, with New York and Madrid soon following.

Paris had been the front-runner throughout the campaign, but London picked up momentum in the late stages with strong support from Blair.

Part of London's pitch was that it stepped in to help the Olympic movement by staging the games as Europe was still recovering from World War II.

The race had been considered too close to call as an unprecedented collection of world leaders and sports celebrities converged on Singapore to lobby for the bids.