The Race for the 2012 Olympics is the inside story of how London pulled off one of the biggest surprises in Olympic history by winning the right to stage the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The book is by Mike Lee, the bid’s communications director and special adviser to bid leader Seb Coe, with comment and contributions from all the leading players including , Seb Coe himself, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Cherie Blair, Olympics Ministers Tessa Jowell and Richard Caborn, London Mayor Ken Livingstone, bid chief executive Keith Mills,  International Olympic Committee member Craig Reedie and former IOC marketing chief Michael Payne. Tony Blair and Seb Coe both contribute  forewords to the book. The book is published on the first anniversary of London winning the bid.


The Race for the 2012 Olympics

The inside story of how London won the bid

Forewords by Tony Blair and Seb Coe

By Mike Lee

Published on the anniversary of winning the bid, 6th July 2006

Trade paperback £12.99


This book is about an amazing race against time, defeating disasters and producing the most innovative and creative campaign of any Olympic bid. It is the story of how the underdog London won over a confident Paris. Absolutely fascinating and a real page-turner.

The race for the 2012 Olympics is a unique account of two years of dramatic ups and downs as London chased the favourite, Paris – from the arrival of former bid leader Barbara Cassini to the delivery of one of the most powerful and emotional Olympic bid presentations ever in Singapore. It includes the behind-the-scenes story of  London’s campaign, an inside look at the French bid , Tony and Cherie Blair’s 72-hour lobbying marathon and David Beckham the diplomat, all of who played a crucial role in helping London win the Games. This is also the story of a global communications campaign which set new standards for Olympic bidding, and reveals the superstitions and celebrations of the key players.

For more information, please contact Stina Smemo on 020 7386 3328 or ssmemo@virgin-books.co.uk

Mike Lee, OBE

After completing a BA (Hons) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at St Peter’s College, Oxford University, Mike embarked on a career in Government and Media Relations. This included working as a Parliamentary Campaigns Officer with The Labour Party and then as Special Adviser to Rt Hon David Blunkett MP. Moving to consultancy Mike became Deputy MD of a leading UK agency specialising in integrated political and media communications. His clients ranged across many sectors, including broadcasting and sports and leisure, where he worked as the Press Chief for the English Premier League.  In 2000 Mike was appointed Director of Communications and Public Affairs for UEFA, European football’s governing body, with overall responsibility for corporate communications and external relations, including links to Governments, the EU and international media.

In 2003 Mike moved back to the UK to take up the role of Director of Communications and Public Affairs at London 2012 where he co-ordinated all external relations and campaigning elements of London’s Olympic bid.  Mike co-chaired the creative team, and led the international media and on-line campaign, high-level political liaison and oversaw the work of the bid’s sporting ambassadors.  Mike was official bid spokesman and special adviser to the Chairman (Lord Sebastian Coe).

In 2005 Mike was voted PR Week’s “PR Professional of the Year” and was awarded an OBE in the New Years Honour List. In 2006 he became CEO of the newly formed Vero Communications Ltd.

Mike Lee is writing the book with Adrian Warner and David Bond, two of Britain’s most experienced journalists on Olympic affairs and sports politics who followed the bid closely from its hesitant beginnings to its dramatic end.