London 2012 - Cherie's furious tirade helped Britain get Games

A furious tirade by Cherie Blair was one of the key moments in Britain winning the right to host the 2012 Olympics, according to Games chief Sebastian Coe.

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London 2012 - Cherie's furious tirade helped Britain get Games
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Cherie Blair

Coe has revealed in his new autobiography that the wife of former prime minister Tony Blair laid into French president Jacques Chirac at a crucial Olympic reception.

Apparently Cherie - a high-flying human rights lawyer - went at Chirac "like a banshee" after the Frenchman ridiculed British cuisine.

"I spotted Cherie heading like a heat-seeking missile towards the French contingent," Coe wrote in his book.

"Above the hubbub her voice rang loud and clear. 'I gather you've been saying rude things about our food', she said, at a volume that would have done justice to a packed courtroom."

Chirac had been overheard telling Russian and German counterparts Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schroeder that, "you can't trust people who cook as badly as that... after Finland, it's the country with the worst food," as the French lobbied for votes in Singapore back in 2007.

Cherie's attack embarrassed Chirac so much that he made a hasty exit - leaving the British contingent vital extra time and access to lobby IOC members just before the vote, in which London beat bookies' favourites Paris by 54 votes to 50.

As for Tony Blair's reaction to his wife's outburst? It seems he was almost as embarrassed as Chirac.

"Her husband, who could hear as well as I could, had assiduously turned away," added Coe.

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