The media thought it was going to be Paris. The athletes themselves thought it was going to be Paris.
Thousands of usually blasé Parisians, gathered at the city's Hotel de Ville, were convinced it was going to be Paris.
But here we are - zut alors! - one year away from the start of the 2012 Olympic Games ... in London.
On July 27, 2012, athletes from an expected 202 nations will march into the new, $800 million Olympic Stadium in East London. Their few footsteps will complete an unlikely journey for British organizers, who had lost three previous bids to host the Games.
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The International Olympic Committee's vote on July 6, 2005, was being watched with more than casual interest by onlookers from Rio to Moscow. The 2012 Games were the ones that the combined task force from Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas and surrounding communities once hoped to officially bid for.
The eventual U.S. bid city, New York, was one of the five finalist cities that the IOC was asked to vote on six years ago in Singapore. Three rounds of balloting eliminated Moscow, New York and Madrid, before London emerged as the surprise winner over Paris, 54 votes to 50.
In the eyes of IOC voters, it was a matter of Tony Blair over a late-arriving Jacques Chirac, of Trafalgar Square over the Champs Elysees, and of bangers and mash over foie gras.
But more than that, it was credited as a victory of London's oh-so-earnest, Chariots of Fire lobbying for the 2012 Games over what was seen as France's smug entitlement. The Brits simply worked harder to get the Games, none harder than the gold medal Olympian, Lord Sebastian Coe.
When then-president Chirac breezed into Singapore and reportedly sought no personal audiences with yet-undecided IOC voters, the door was left open for Coe's relentless charm and geniality to tilt the scales. It didn't help that Chirac, in comparing the two finalists, made unseemly remarks about British cooking.
The London bid team's final presentation probably deserved an Oscar as well as an Olympic invitation. Sir Craig Reedie, Britain's senior IOC member, began his remarks in French, the official language at these hoary get-togethers. Princess Anne also took the podium with a message from her mum, the Queen.
But it was Coe who told the IOC assembly what they wanted to hear -- that London would show it still cared about the Olympics, and that it would instill that reverence for the future of the Games in the world's young people.
Coe told his own story, of being "a 12-year-old, marched in front of a black-and-white TV at school, and looking at those grainy pictures from the Mexico City Olympics."
"It opened a window to a new world," said former middle distance runner Coe, who would go on to win two Olympic gold medals.
Instead of the customary bid team entourage of politicians and hungry businessmen, the London organizers had filled their allotted chairs with youngsters from the East London neighborhood that was about to be transformed by the Games.
In long-neglected East London last week, a British diver made the ceremonial first dive into the Olympic Aquatic Centre pool -- the last of the six permanent venues to be completed in the new Olympic Park.
Venue construction won't be an issue at these Games, unlike at Athens and Turin.
But one year from the opening ceremonies, London still has its concerns.
The weather, for example. The royal meteorologist has predicted at least seven rainy days among the Olympic fortnight.
London's world-class traffic, for another. The city is a maze of odd angles and one-way streets, sitting atop an underground subway that IOC inspectors themselves termed "obsolete."
And security remains a prominent concern. On the day after the 2005 announcement, Al Qaeda terrorists bombed the London subway and infrastructure.
One year from last Wednesday, however, the TV cameras are scheduled to be turned on, the athletes will march in and the cauldron will be lit to start the London Olympics.
For U.S. athletes, the climb to the medal stand may never seem steeper.
"It is an interesting landscape out there," Alan Ashley, the U.S. Olympic Committee's chief of sports performance, said last week. "Some of these other nations are pouring an enormous amount of resources into their sports programs. Governments are behind them. They're very, very serious contenders."
The American story in London is expected, again, to be a rerun. Experienced Olympians likely will be included on every U.S. sport's roster -- even gymnastics, where Shawn Johnson and Alicia Sacramone will again attempt to make the American team.
Michael Phelps will be back in the swimming pool to see what a man does for an encore after eight gold medals. Dara Torres has hinted at a comeback at age 45. And "The Thorpedo," Ian Thorpe, will attempt his own swimming comeback for Australia.
Arlington gold medal 400-meter runner Jeremy Wariner will try to win his fifth Olympic medal in track and field. Swimmer Dana Vollmer of Granbury will try to add her first individual gold medal to the relay gold she won in Athens.
One year away, meanwhile, the Games' London hosts seem remarkably ready. The pool is filled. The new roads have been poured. The venues are being opened.
Seb Coe and the Brits are ready to open a few windows.
Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697