The ridiculous advertisements for Paris, Moscow, and New York make us think London deserved the win.

Winning an Olympic bid involves a lot. Planning for new infrastructure, securing financing, emphasizing a local culture of sport, and an official video that bottles a city's ambition into one quick and ultimately, eye-rolling experience.

London, Moscow, New York, and Paris were the finalists for the announcement in Singapore back in 2005. Thanks to YouTube, we can look back at the pathos the four cities pursued in an attempt to seal the deal. As you'll see, some deserved to lose more than others:


Moscow tries to charm the IOC in this video with its history and folksy people who just like to sit outside in the fields in traditional garb and teach children to be gymnasts. In hopes of demonstrating an equally modern city, the video also shows what seems to be Vladimir Putin taking an opponent down in Judo and then later on, either an over-edited or just fake satellite launch.

New York

New York's is all about tugging at your heartstrings. Torch carriers in super slow mo, people cheering on the streets all over town, a classical version of "New York, New York" in the background, and a closing shot of Lady Liberty. We'll never know how many tears it made Jacque Rogge shed, but it wasn't enough to win the bid.

There's also a more nuts and bolts video from the city that presents the infrastructure to be readied in time for a hypothetical games. Interestingly enough, the region did see many new and renovated stadiums come to fruition in or before 2012 (Barclays Arena, new Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Prudential Center, a renovated MSG, and a new Meadowlands Stadium). But proposing that anyone do anything inside Nassau Coliseum? That's just sabotage. 


If you didn't hate the French before this video, you probably will now.  Commissioning a song that was inspired by the sound of nails on a chalkboard, its video includes title treatments that reference MTV's Real World, CGI fighter jets (as if the French know anything about those), and young women changing clothes while giggling. For extra pandering, it concludes with a small child sweelty announcing her wish for Paris to host the Olympics.


London, always playing things cool, took a more straightforward approach. A well known, semi-inspirational song by a UK-born singer, and just a ton of Olympics highlights. No over-the-top pandering necessary, the video just shows the IOC its own product that it's already in love with. Congratulations, London, you not only won the bid for the 2012 Games, but more importantly, you made one of the least annoying videos for it too. 

About the Author

Mark Byrnes
Mark Byrnes

Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design, history, and photography.

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