POSTED: October 2nd 2009

Madrid climax campaign with 'Olympic family special'

Monica Figar: Olympic star quality / lake images
Monica Figar: Olympic star quality / lake images

KEIR RADNEDGE in COPENHAGEN / Sports Features Communications

OCT 02: Madrid presented a whole new meaning to the cliché of “Olympic family” when its bid team brought the 2016 presentations to a climax at the Bella Centre in Copenhagen.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former IOC president, and his son Juan Antonio Junior spoke up; and so did bid ceo Mercedes Coghen followed, most notably and in clear and nerveless English, by her 12-year-old daughter Monica Figar.

A regal back-up team featured King Juan Carlos, Prime Minister Jose Luiz Zapatero, regional governor Esperanza Aguirre, Sports Minister Jaime Lissavetzky and Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon. The city’s sporting culture was led by Real Madrid captain Raul Gonzalez and Paralympic medal-winning swimmer Teresa Perales.

Bid leader Coghen introduced a video-heavy guide to the city’s social, sporting and cultural potential before Zapatero took centre stage.

“Madrid’s project is the result of many years of effort,” he said, noting that 77pc of the necessary Olympic infrastructure was in place. He added: “This is a sure candidacy because Spain has shown that it can organise - brilliantly - sporting and cultural activities. Our candidacy is reliable because it is united politically.”

He said that the city’s leaders had learned, with an oblique reference to previous failed bids - including 2012 - and criticism in the recent evaluation commission report - “We have listened to everything the commission and the IOC have suggested.”

Lessons learned

Alejandro Blanco, president of the Spanish Olympic committee, underlined the lesson-learning theme by describing the 2016 project as a “Games designed by, and for, athletes.”

On those athletes' behalf, Raul explained how his commitment to the Madrid bid, and the Olympic values of fairplay, had accentuated his awareness of his responsibility as a role model on and off the pitch.

Not only did Raul end his remarks by saying, in English: “I believe, we believe.” So did Paralymic swimmer Perales, in appealing for a recognition that sport “can change people’s lives regardless of ability or disability.”

So did show-stealer Monica Figar. “Sport makes us equal and makes us better,” she said. “This and many other things I have been fortunate to learn at home. My parents have passed on to me their love of sport and of values such as respect, responsibility and and the value of effort. Also sport makes us feel healthy and allows us to make many, many friends.

“My Mom has told me that with lots of work everything is possible and I believe her . . . but, just in case, my friends and I have become volunteers. I believe, we believe!”

Keywords · 2016 Olympic Games · Coghen · Samaranch · Monica Figar · Raul · Perales · King Juan Carlos

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