Failed Madrid 2020 Olympic Bid Leaves Spain Disappointed A Third Consecutive Time
The Madrid 2020 Olympic bid "hoped it would be third time lucky for Madrid, but it was three strikes and you're out this weekend," according to Paul Hamilos of the London GUARDIAN. On Sunday morning, Madrid "woke up to the hangover of an economy that continues in crisis, youth unemployment at record levels of 56%, and little to look forward to." The news "dominated the headlines on TV and in the papers." The front page of El Mundo newspaper "shouted, 'The great disappointment,'" while Spanish newspaper ABC said, "Goodbye to the Olympic dream." On Saturday night, thousands of Spaniards "filled the streets around the Puerta de Alcalá in the heart of Madrid, high on the hopes of victory, with big screens expected to beam in good news from Buenos Aires." But the "party atmosphere dampened as the rain started to fall, with Madrid unceremoniously booted out in the first round, silencing the crowd, and sending them home, or to drown their sorrows" (GUARDIAN, 9/8).
BLANCO IN TEARS: In Madrid, Juan Jimenéz reported Spanish Olympic Committee President Alejandro Blanco "appeared very emotional" at a press conference. Blanco: "The first thing I want to do is congratulate Tokyo. We wish that city the best. I want to congratulate [Madrid Mayor] Ana Botella, she has done a sensational job. I do not know what has happened. It was a secret vote. We tried to defend the project in the name of the Spanish flag." Blanco "broke into tears and had to hide himself behind the Spanish athletes" (AS, 9/8). REUTERS' Rex Gowar reported Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy "stopped short of pledging another Olympic bid after three successive failures, but said the government 'would offer more support if necessary to Spanish sport.'" Members of the "large Spanish contingent were in tears when they emerged from the bar onto the streets of the redeveloped port area of the Argentine capital on a grey, rainy afternoon." Spain's Education, Culture & Sports Minister José Ignacio Wert said, "We believe the result bears no relation to the way (our presentation) was made. A decision like that is based on other criteria" (REUTERS, 9/9).
ATHLETES ANGRY: In London, Rick Broadbent reported Spanish sports stars and members of Madrid’s bid team "reacted with anger and allegations." Tennis player Feliciano Lopez branded the IOC "a disgrace." NBA L.A. Lakers player Pau Gasol, a member of the presentation team, said, “There are factors we don’t control that only [the IOC members] know about” (LONDON TIMES, 9/7).
OPERATION PUERTO COSTLY: In Madrid, José Sámano wrote "the IOC is a melting pot of diverse wills in which politics and finances carry the most weight." The athletes "are the victims of the interference of power." It is politics "that has delayed the anti-doping law and with the badly-closed Operation Puerto case, which provoked the most interest in the final questioning of the presentation in Buenos Aires." Fair "or not, it was the outside perception of Spanish sport, which took too long to improve its bad image." It is politics that "has subtracted from country's credibility, which, as much as Spain tried, it does not have the finances and credibility to host an event of this magnitude" (EL PAIS, 9/8). Also in Madrid, the EFE reported the French press "considered the choice of Tokyo unsurprising and likely to be a positive ahead of Paris's possibly 2024 candidacy." French newspaper sports daily L'Equipe's headline said, "Tokyo without surprises." L'Equipe's story said, "Madrid suffered a cold shower. That it has happened again should be underlined. It happened because of a poor response to questions about the Operation Puerto doping case" (EFE, 9/8).
NO MÁS: Also in Madrid, MARCA reported it polled its readers asking, "Do you believe Madrid should launch a candidacy to host the Olympics in 2024" and nearly 20,000 people responded, with 77.5% of voters answering, "no" (MARCA, 9/8).