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Osaka, Paris Make Final Presentations

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Osaka, considered an outsider in the race for the 2008 Games, made its final presentation to the International Olympic Committee Friday morning.

Osaka's bid organizers stressed the quality of it's venues and government pledge of unqualified financial backing.

Replying to a question from Russia's former Olympic 100 metres freestyle gold medalist Alexander Popov, Takafumi Isomura, Osaka's mayor, said there was little risk of an earthquake in Osaka. He stressed the Japanese government's "unqualified guarantee" of financial support and described Osaka as a sports paradise.

An accompanying video contained shots of the rising sun and cherry blossom, mingled with images of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the first Games staged in Asia.

Meanwhile, the Paris delegation stressed the city's connections with the Olympics, referring to Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement, and also to the 1924 Paris Games.

Claude Bebear, head of the Paris organizing committee, said Paris was ideally situated for live television broadcasts to Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.

And French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said France had already proved its ability to stage great sporting events. He said, "with the Games in Paris, France wants to show that the universal Olympic virtues radiate throughout the world".

Beijing is now in the middle of its presentation. The city's Mayor, and sports director are speaking. Reports say it has taken on a more serious tone than Toronto's presentation. And Istanbul's presentation is yet to come. Write or read comments about this article

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