By TOM TOPOUSIS in New York and BARRY KEEVINS in Singapore
July 7, 2005 -- In the end, it had nothing to do with the stadium fiasco.
The timing was just wrong for New York, and popular support for the Games here wasn't great to begin with.
In a vote that broke hearts in the underdog Big Apple, London yesterday won the 2012 Olympics — shocking odds-on favorite Paris.
International Olympic Committee delegates, interviewed by The Post after the vote took place in Singapore, said it was bad timing for New York's bid.
New York has never before hosted the Games, but delegates noted that the United States has hosted the Olympics twice in the last decade — at Atlanta in 1996 and Salt Lake City in 2002.
"Many members felt it was time for a European city," said Alex Gilady, Israel's delegate to the IOC. "You can find any reason you want, but the closeness of Salt Lake City and Atlanta didn't help."
In the end, after four rounds of voting, London scored a stunning upset victory in a head-to-head battle with the favorite, Paris, by a vote of 54 to 50.
Moscow was dropped in the first round and New York was bounced in the second. Madrid, which had the powerful backing of former IOC President Juan Samaranch, lasted until the third round.
On the first ballot, London got 22 votes, followed by Paris with 21, Madrid with 20 and New York with 19. Moscow, with 15, was eliminated. The city with the lowest vote total in each round is out; voting continues until one city gains a majority. Members could not vote if their country's candidate was still in contention.
Madrid, pushed by Samaranch, picked up almost all of Moscow's votes in the second round — votes that New York had thought might go its way.
Madrid shot to the lead with 32 votes. London dropped to second with 27, Paris to third with 25.
In the third round, London picked up New York's votes, eliminating Madrid.
Then, in the fourth and final round, Madrid's votes were split but London got enough of them to put it over the top.
James Easton, one of three delegates from the United States, agreed that the timing of a 2012 Olympics hurt New York, since both Britain and France hadn't held the event in decades.
"They sort of had first priority," Easton said of the two nations.
One IOC delegate, speaking on condition of anonymity, said New York came on a bit too strong.
"The problem with New York's bid was that it was all about power and money," the delegate said.
And despite the polish of the city's effort, another delegate said New York's bid was hurt because it never had strong public support.
IOC polls conducted in each of the five cities earlier this year found that a 2012 Olympics had the lowest public support in Gotham.
Yesterday's vote followed one last day of intense lobbying and the final presentations by each of the five cities.
Mayor Bloomberg led New York's contingent with an emotional appeal, including a video presentation that had President Bush, former President Bill Clinton and dozens of athletes and celebrities appealing for the city.
But the star power of Muhammad Ali and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who traveled to Singapore, could not overcome the momentum for a European Olympics.
"I'm terribly disappointed," a dejected Bloomberg said after the vote. "And while we won't host the 2012 Games, we are proud of what we have achieved and will redouble our efforts to keep New York City moving forward."
The bid was led from the start by Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff.
"Today ends an 11-year journey not just for me but for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who hoped to make our Olympic dreams a reality," Doctoroff said.
New York had to recover from a failed effort to build a West Side stadium that was the crown jewel of the Olympic bid. An 11th-hour plan to build a stadium in Queens rescued the bid.
Gilady said the stadium controversy gave some IOC members already leaning toward a European city an excuse not to back New York. But considering the forces against the Big Apple, Gilady said New York did well in Singapore.
"Remember, 19 votes on the first round was much closer than most people expected," Gilady said. The first round of voting included all five cities and, at that point, New York was only three votes behind London.
Yesterday, many New Yorkers said they were glad the city lost.
Dan Mahr, 29, of Queens, said, "I'm happy we didn't get it. I felt it would push New York back into recession."
And Christina Jordan, 25, added, "It would be a mess, all those tourists. Please, we were never gonna get it."
Additional reporting by Emma Haberman
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