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Madrid bids for Olympics 2012

Published on 16/01/2004

16 January 2004

MADRID – Madrid began unveiling its bid for the 2012 Olympic Games Friday.

The Madrid Foundation, which is behind the bid to bring the Games to the Spanish capital, presented its plan to Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.

Madrid is among nine cities vying to win the right to stage the Games.

Paris is the favourite and London is also thought to have a good chance of staging the prestigious event.

The Madrid Foundation submitted its plans formally to Aznar, but details will be released later.

The closing date for submitting the bids to the International Olympic Committee (IOC)was Thursday.

Madrid’s status as a major European capital and its reputation as a centre of sporting passion will endear it to the IOC.

The transport infrastructure is well funded and could cope with the demands of an Olympic Games.

But the major factor counting against Madrid is Barcelona’s hosting of the Games in 1992.

In Olympic terms, 20 years may be too short a period in which to award the event to the same country.

Aznar said Madrid was the “great capital of a great nation” and wished the team the best success in their bid.

He made these comments alter the mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, presented the details of the bid.

The prime minister said if Madrid won the bid it would be “window for the whole world to see the amazing transformation of Spain over the last few decades”.

He reiterated his support for the bid and he said he believed all Spaniards supported it.

Paris, the favourite, was first to launch its candidacy, with a glitzy ceremony at the Eiffel Tower Friday.

The city lost out to Beijing for the 2008 Games and also missed out in 1992, but it is confident it can win now.

London and Moscow have also revealed their bids; New York, Istanbul, Leipzig, Rio de Janeiro and Havana are expected to launch theirs later.

The BBC reports that Paris, which staged football’s World Cup in 1998, will centre its bid around the 80,000 capacity Stade de France.

France’s sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour said: “We have the know-how of how to organise things on a large scale.

“And the government will support the bid to the highest level, right up to President (Jacques) Chirac, whether financial, or in terms of security.”

Fourteen of the 32 stadiums needed for the Games are already built.

Swimming will be staged at a new pool to be built near the Stade de France and a new stadium is planned at nearby Porte de la Chapelle for gymnastics and the basketball finals.

Bid committee director Essar Gabriel has promised there will be no white elephants which will be left to rust once the Games are over.

Paris hosted the Olympics in 1900 and 1924 when Finnish running legend Paavo Nurmi won five gold medals and Johnny Weissmuller of Tarzan fame won three gold swimming medals.

British runners Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddle of “Chariots of Fire” fame also triumphed at the old Colombes stadium.

Local authorities have promised to spend 250 million euros on the derelict stadium, to transform it into a world-class sport and cultural centre.

If Paris wins the Games it will stage baseball and softball.

The final vote by the 125 IOC members will be taken in Singapore on 6 July, 2005.

[copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news