Madrid hopes Olympics help economy, doping fight
Madrid expects its 2020 Olympic bid to help revive the country’s
sluggish economy and reinforce Spain’s commitment to fight
Organizers presented their bid application to the media
Thursday, two days after Rome dropped out because the Italian
government refused to supply financial guarantees.
The remaining candidates – Madrid, Istanbul, Tokyo, Doha and
Baku, Azerbaijan – will wait for the International Olympic
Committee’s next meeting in Quebec City in May to see if they make
the final shortlist.
”Nobody knows the truth about how Rome’s exit will affect us,
whether it will harm us or help us,” Madrid bid leader Alejandro
Blanco said. ”We need to focus on the bids that remain now, not
the ones that were.”
Madrid, which has a bid budget of $50 million, is making its
third consecutive bid after failed attempts for the 2012 and 2016
Bid officials promised compact and environmentally responsible
games, saying nearly 80 percent of the infrastructure is completed.
Funding has been guaranteed by all levels of government, even
though the economy is expected to shrink and nearly one-quarter of
Spaniards are unemployed.
”The returns will be incalculable,” Madrid Mayor Ana Botella
said. ”Winning the games would provide a great return in terms of
jobs and for the image of the city internationally. We want to
continue with the legacy left behind by Barcelona 1992.”
Madrid’s bid team promised no unnecessary investments, claiming
Madrid was the best value-for-money of the five candidates. Blanco
and Botella outlined the dossier, which pushed frugal messages such
as ”back to basics” and ”intelligent games means intelligent
legacy.” Madrid promised a lower carbon footprint despite the
Spanish capital regularly showing up among Europe’s most polluted
Blanco said Spain would have all necessary anti-doping
legislation in place and that it was ”impossible” for Spain to do
more in the fight against doping after the country again fell under
the spotlight following cyclist Alberto Contador’s ban.
Blanco sought to shift the spotlight after the country’s sports
minister said Spain had ”a problem with doping.”
”We can’t be our own worst enemy with this,” Blanco said.
”The issue of doping has become obsessive. … The problem with
doping is that every country has it. I don’t know one that
Blanco was among a majority of Spanish authorities who supported
Contador, who received a retroactive two-year ban after failing to
convince sport’s highest court that a positive drug test taken
during the 2010 Tour de France resulted from contaminated meat.
Contador was among the 50 cyclists implicated in 2006’s
Operation Puerto, the largest investigation into doping in cycling
that failed to yield a single ban for riders from Spanish
The IOC will select the 2020 host city on Sept. 7, 2013, in