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Five Cities Chosen as Finalists to Host 2012 Olympic Games -- May 21, 2004

NEW YORK, May 21. ORGANIZERS of New York City's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games remained on a high, after the Big Apple was chosen last Tuesday as one of five finalists, along with four European capitals, to host the '12 Games. "We are flattered, we are humbled, we couldn't be more proud," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a cheering crowd in Manhattan's Bryant Park.

The International Olympic Committee announced that London, Paris, Madrid and Moscow were also on the organization's short list. Eliminated from consideration were Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, Havana and Leipzig, as the IOC focused more than it has in the past on infrastructure. The final selection of a city is expected in July 2005.

Mayor Bloomberg commented: "The Olympics movement is one of the things that pulls the world together and deserves our support."

Three-time Olympian Janet Evans, winner of four gold medals, said New York is so diverse, athletes arriving from abroad would have their own national cheering sections among New Yorkers.

"New York is the world's home," Evans told the crowd gathered to celebrate New York's selection.

Bloomberg quipped that a poll showed 77 percent of New York's eight million people want the Olympics for the city. "For New York City, that is virtually 100 percent," he said.

The 2004 Games will be held in Athens, while the 2008 Games will be held in Beijing.