POSTED: August 30th 2008

Madrid rejects 'London factor'

Mercedes Coghen leads the Madrid campaign
Mercedes Coghen leads the Madrid campaign

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

MADRID: Madrid bid leaders do not believe IOC members will be deterred from backing them by the prospect of sending a second Games to Europe.

Madrid were among the losers to London in the 2012 process and are back, on the four-strong shortlist for 2016, along with Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. Only Tokyo have hosted the Games previously, in 1964.

A Madrid delegation, led by chief executive Mercedes Coghen, was busy in Beijing throughout the recent XXIX Olympiad, examining all facets of the staging systems necessary for both the Olympics and the Paralympics.

The Spanish capital threw its hat back into the ring in July 2006, a year after the 2012 defeat.

Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, challenged to justify the immediate return to the fight, said: "We do not believe that, in this era of modern technology, the precise identity and geographical position of the host city is less important than the spirit and intent. I can certainly say that, despite our defeat by London, the spirit of the Olympics continues to live in Madrid."

Ruiz-Gallardon insisted that, in any case, a vote for Madrid would be a vote for "a Latin Olympics" and he claimed widespread support for a repeat bid, partly on the grounds that Madrid had come so close before.

The organisers project a new Olympic stadium which would, after the Games, become a permanent home for the top division soccer club Atletico de Madrid - whose star player, Sergio Aguero, was a gold-medal winnerin Beijing with Argentina.

Ruiz-Gallardón promised a "precious legacy" based on the provision of with new education and public health programmes, new public sports facilities, an increase in tourism and and commercial opportunities, more environmental features and plus enhanced cultural/technological opportunities

"The benefits of this regeneration will last for future generations," he said. "The city government will work to ensure that citizens can feel directly involved in a shared adventure."

The slogan for the Madrid bid is "Feel the experience. It's in your hands."

Ruiz-Gallardón added: "We want these Games to be the Games of the People, the Games that involve every citizen. This citizen participation will be shown in our top quality sports infrastructures and in every activity related to the Olympic bid and the Games themselves."

The original response to the IOC in the bidding procedure was handed into Lausanne by the former tennis champion Arantxa Sánchez Vicario.

The project is divided geographically on either side of Madrid. The eastern side of the city would boast 15 sports areas and would be the "heart" of the Games while the environmentally regenerated western zone would represent the "lungs" of the Games.

Keywords · Olympic · Games · Coghen · Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon · Madrid · 2016 · Aguero

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