With exactly one month to go until the Internal Olympic Committee makes its decision as to which city is to host the 2012 games, it looks like London's chances are improving all the time. Yesterday's Observer devoted an above-the-fold front page slot to a story stating that London had addressed most of its serious problems and was closing the gap with the favourite, Paris, fast.
Insiders say the long-awaited report from the IOC's evaluation commission will confirm that London would hold a well-run Games.
It will praise the capital for having made major progress in improving three areas previously identified as weaknesses: the city's transport system, and the level of public and political support for the 2012 campaign.
'It's going to show that there's little now to choose between London and Paris,' said one informed Olympic source. 'London is going to have a good report. The members of the evaluation commission will say that while Paris still gets top marks, London has addressed problem areas.'
This morning's Guardian has a similar report, stating that the inspectors singled out Lord Coe, the bid leader for praise. Coe is now on tour with Tessa "supercasinsos" Jowell to ginger up support:
Lord Coe, London's bid leader, and the culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, are now concentrating their efforts on an exhausting travel schedule in an effort to woo voters.
They are convinced they can persuade enough to vote for the Olympics to return to Britain for the first time since 1948.
But the bookmakers remain less confident. They still have Paris as the 1-5 favourite with London second favourite at 7-2. "All the money has been for Paris in the last month," said Warren Lush, a spokesman for Ladbrokes. "London rallied earlier in the year but Paris is now the shortest odds it has ever been."
Warren Lush - what a great name. Straight out of Martin Amis.
So most of the hurdles and water hazards have been cleared, they're into the home stretch, there's only the keeper to beat and it may be game, and and match in the final innings. Or whatever. But the omens are looking better than they have done at any other time.