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Also-rans deal with defeat

Decision leaves them wanting

Madrid residents and Muscovites erupted with hoots, whistles, insults, and boos. Parisians folded up French flags and emptied ice buckets of victory champagne. New Yorkers stared silently down at subway platforms.

Deflated, dismayed, and downright depressed, people in the four cities who lost out to London yesterday in the battle to host the 2012 Summer Olympics found themselves coping with defeat.

In Moscow, the first of the four also-rans to be eliminated, some people hooted in dismay, but most stood in clear disappointment as news of the loss came.

''We have an Olympic tradition here; we should have won," said Elena Ankudinova, a masseuse in the Russian capital, which hosted the 1980 Summer Games.

But Moscow's mayor Yuri Luzhkov said the city would try again.

''We are not disappointed," he said. ''We will bid for the right to become the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games."

In Madrid, hundreds of people waving Madrid 2012 and Spanish flags had packed the 18th century Plaza Mayor to follow the IOC voting. The city's elimination was greeted with a collective silence -- quickly followed by boos, whistles and insults.

''It's terrible," said an angry Maria Luz Beltran, a 50-year-old unemployed woman. ''This was already thought out and voted on beforehand. I am angry. Madrid had a chance of winning, but it's all politics."

In Paris, which was heavily favored to win the games, raindrops began falling just before the International Olympic Committee's announcement in Singapore. It was a bad omen for the several thousand spectators who had gathered at City Hall for what they expected would be a victory celebration.

''We can be proud of ourselves, proud of our engagement," said French Sports Minister Jean-Francois Lamour, a two-time Olympics fencing gold medalist. ''Now we have to bounce back, do more work, continue to develop our strategy in spite of this big disappointment."

But few Parisians were in a bounce-back mood.

Many across France, which hasn't hosted a Summer Olympics since 1924, had hoped winning the games would help lift the country stung by high unemployment and a lackluster economy.

Losing to London was even worse. The French and the British have a long rivalry, and some accused the IOC of an Anglo-Saxon bias. As a top City Hall official extended congratulations to Londoners, the crowd responded with a chorus of boos.

A carnival atmosphere earlier in the day deflated in the space of a few seconds. Mayor Bertrand Delanoe called the defeat an ''ordeal" that the city needed to recover from.

''It's been three times now that Paris has been refused -- 1992, 2008, and 2012. I find that bizarre," said NBA star Tony Parker, a Frenchman who plays for the San Antonio Spurs. ''It proves that the committee is Anglo-Saxon. They prefer the English."

The mood was subdued on a gray morning in New York, which had hoped winning the games would give it something bright to focus on after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

''Everybody seems disappointed," said Nick Patrickas, a painter from Long Island who came to Manhattan early yesterday hopeful of a New York victory.

A planned Rockefeller Center victory party instead turned into an outdoor wake. A giant Jumbotron, used earlier to beam in a feed of the vote, carried a message of defeat: ''Thank you New Yorkers for your support."

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