POSTED: October 1st 2009

Madrid 2016 puts its faith in power of the Samaranch Effect

Men on a mission: Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon and Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero / Madrid 2016
Men on a mission: Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon and Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero / Madrid 2016

KEIR RADNEDGE in COPENHAGEN / Sports Features Communications

OCT 01: Madrid is waiting to see whether the Samaranch Effect still carries heavy weight within the Olympic movement.

It is no secret that Spanish hopes of bringing a second successive Games to Europe for the first time since Helsinki 1952 and a second Spanish Games since Barcelona in 1992 rest partly on the influence of Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero referred directly to the still-powerful shadow of the former IOC president in stepping up to lead Madrid into the final stage of the fight with Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

He said that the Madrid team had already had more than 50 meetings in around 24 hours with IOC members ahead of the decisive vote in Copenhagen. Then Zapatero added: “I have been able to see that Juan Antonio Samaranch remains an important point of reference.

"There is so much respect for him and the prestige he holds within the Olympic movement. He has done so much for Spain, so much for Olympism and has been so important to this bid of ours. We can all feel proud of the way he is revered within the Olympic movement.”

Privately more than one member of the Madrid team has talked confidently of the number of voting promises gathered even ahead of the IOC members’ arrival in Copenhagen. Others have taken an optimistic view of a perceived late shift towards Madrid in betting patterns.

United nation

Certainly Zapatero said that, after his initial round of meetings, he felt “more optimistic than ever” about the vote.

He added: “An Olympics in Madrid will do so much for Spain and so much for the whole Olympic movement. Spain is a country which is true to the Olympic values, loyal to Olympism. The whole nation has united around this noble cause.”

Zapatero drew on recent Spanish sporting successes as having created a potentially winning momentum. He said: “Spain is going through a golden moment for sport. Spain is European Champion in football and basketball, has won the Davis Cup in tennis and achieved success in many different sports such as handball and water polo.

“We respect all the other great cities and we are very proud of what we have achieved, our bid is strong and has unified an entire country.”

Promising to continue the lobbying campaign as long as possible, he concluded: “While there is still time we will not stop for one moment until we have got there. We hope to bring great joy to our country tomorrow.”

Keywords · 2016 Olympic Games · Madrid · Zapatero · Samaranch · IOC · Copenhagen

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