POSTED: September 25th 2009

Madrid 2016 will be accessible to all, says Mercedes Coghen

Mercedes Coghen: proud of the bid, proud of Madrid / Madrid 2016
Mercedes Coghen: proud of the bid, proud of Madrid / Madrid 2016

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

MADRID: As bidding for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games enters its final week everything is still to play for in one of the tightest races in bidding history.  The Olympic Games is about bringing the power of sport to every person in the world so asked Madrid bid ceo Mercedes Coghen what she believed Madrid would do to bring the Olympics to the world.

The Olympics is the most important global multi-sport event and is about involving as many people as possible.  Is Madrid the best bid to achieve this?

Madrid 2016 will be the Games With The Human Touch.  This is at the very heart of our bid, its spirit, its soul.  Our logo is a multicoloured hand. It represents the hand of friendship reaching out to everyone, everywhere, from Madrileño schoolchildren to international sporting stars to kings and queens.

It represents the welcoming handshake to all who enter our city; it represents a guiding hand as people old and young share skills, values, experiences and cultures; it represents a safe pair of hands, representing the guarantee that a Games in Madrid will be fantastically well financed, well organised, well supported and incredibly memorable.

Our logo means all these things and more.  Madrid will welcome the Olympics with open arms and open hearts.  We want to make sport, the Olympic movement and our city available and accessible to people of every age, nationality, background and ability in the world.  If we can achieve this then we believe we will truly have succeeded in making Madrid 2016 one of the best Olympic Games in living memory.

What provisions has Madrid made for Paralympic Athletes looking to compete at the Games?

September 20, 2016, will mark the closing date of the Paralympic Games in Madrid.  We want everyone who competes in the Olympics and Paralympics to achieve their very best performance and we have made every possible arrangement to sure the greatest comfort and convenience for all athletes.  Madrid is a fantastically compact city and our plan for the Games has the greatest concentration of venues grouped together in history.

Some 85 per cent of Paralympic athletes will live and compete within a 5km radius and a Paralympic Transport Commission has been established to complement free travel on our existing world class public transport network.

New countries and cultures can often be jarring for first-time visitors.  How will athletes and visitors visiting Madrid adjust to the city?

Madrid is one of the most diverse cities in the world.  With 190 nationalities living happily together the city is a fiesta of culture, language and fun.  People from every country in the world will be able to find someone who speaks their language, both literally and spiritually! 

With our city’s passion for sport and overwhelming support for the Games, visitors and athletes alike will find smiling faces welcoming them at every turn, helping them access the very best of the city and its people.  As the second most popular tourist city in Europe so many people visit Madrid each year that many people coming for the Olympics may well have been before.

What is Madrid 2016 doing to encourage and increase participation in sport?

The Olympic and Paralympic Games attracts and encourages the very best athletes on the planet to compete and give their very best at every opportunity.  Madrid wants to maximise these opportunities for athletes of all means and backgrounds, both at home and abroad. Sport is a universal joy and a right and our team will do everything in its power to support budding competitors from developing nations around the world.

Our visa programme ensures total ease of entry to Spain for all athletes. We will also use the legacy of the Games to increase sports participation in Madrileños of all ages, turning Olympic venues into community resources and placing Olympic values at the heart of city living.  We will use an Olympics in Madrid to spur on the next generation of international sporting superstars all over the world – with loud cheers for Spanish athletes and their natural passion!

And finally?

We hold out our hands to welcome in the world to our capital.  We believe that Madrid is the greatest city in the world and that we would produce a truly spectacular Olympic and Paralympic Games. We hope that the International Olympic Committee offers us the chance to show this on 2 October.

** The IOC votes to select the 2016 host city in its Copenhagen Congress on October 2.

Picture (above right): Mercedes Coghen putting over her message / Madrid 2016

Keywords · 2016 Olympic Games · Madrid · Coghen

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