From the editor

Event industry's red carpet puts Olympic bid in reach London's 2012 Olympic Bid has crept up behind that of its rival Paris and tapped it on the shoulder. Following the four-day visit to the capital last month by 13 International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegates, the gap between the two frontrunner bids is now as close as the Canadian men's coxless four got to Matthew Pinsent during the Athens Olympic rowing final.

Should London win the IOC vote in Singapore in July, it will not be because the Queen invited the bid assessment team to dinner at Buckingham Palace.

And it certainly won't be because London's traffic lights just happened to be on green as the IOC convoy approached, or that London Underground ensured its signals were in good working order over the four days.

If London secures the cultural and sporting legacy that goes with hosting an Olympic Games, it will be due in part to the unsung role played by those agencies, suppliers and venues that showcased their talents to the visiting committee members. Taking the delegates through the King's Cross tunnel at Stratford by Land Rover was inspired. As was lining the boulevard at Excel with 98 local school children and rehearsing them to each speak the word 'welcome' in a different language as the assessors walked by.

London has already secured hotel contracts for 2012 that account for more than 30,000 of the 40,000 required rooms and it will operate a 'pay for the length of your stay' scheme instead of the six-night minimum that Athens charged its visitors. It has planning approval and funding in place for all the key sites and aims to have almost 150,000 rooms in seven years compared with the 40,000 Sydney had on offer. If London does win the 2012 Olympic Games, the events industry will have many more opportunities to showcase to the world its high standards, world-class venues and creative skills. That, the industry will agree, is something worth competing for.

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