SINGAPORE: Muhammad Ali is leading a contingent of 40 Olympic champions backing New York's bid for the 2012 Games in Singapore.
Ali, Olympic champion at the 1960 Rome Games, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, heptathlete champion in 1988 and 1992, Australia's swimming great Ian Thorpe, Romania's 1976 Olympic gymnast star Nadia Comaneci, US swimming great Janet Evans and Bob Beamon, whose long jump world record at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics stood for quarter of a century, have been lined up by New York in its bid against London, Madrid, Moscow and Paris.
Their presence boosts a team hit by political wrangling over its Olympic stadium plans, which at one stage put the American bid in jeopardy.
The IOC votes on the 2012 hosts on July 6. – AFP