POSTED: October 5th 2009

Samaranch: I warned Madrid it was on a loser bidding for 2016

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications

COPENHAGEN: Juan Antonio Samaranch has revealed, in the wake of Madrid’s defeat in the 2016 Olympic Games hosting race, that he had cautioned politicians and sports officials not to go through with the bid.

Madrid lost 66-32 to Rio de Janeiro in the third and final round of voting among members of the International Olympic Committee in Congress in Copenhagen last Friday. Chicago and Tokyo had fallen in earlier rounds of voting in the Bella Center.

Samaranch had worked behind the scenes in Copenhagen, trying to bring to bear the influence he had gained during 21 years as president of the IOC from 1980 to 2001. However, he had been conspicuous by his absence from almost all of Madrid’s promotional events in the run-up to the vote.

In Copenhagen the 89-year-old also contributed to the Madrid delegation’s presentation to the IOC by suggesting that a Yes vote would acknowledge his own service to the movement in his final years.

Tactical vote

However, in an interview with DPA in Copenhagen after the Madrid defeat, Samaranch said: “I warned the people behind the bid not to bid for 2016 but they took no notice. I had given my opinion but, after the majority thought differently, the only thing I could then do was to help as best I could.”

Samaranch suggested that a tactically-led vote for Rio had reflected the views of many European IOC members who wanted a new European candidate to be in a strong position to bid for 2020 or 2024.

He added: “Madrid worked very hard but Rio did the job better. What harmed Madrid was that it would have been a second successive European hosting – and many European members of the IOC believed a European city would have a far better chance aiming for 2020 or 2024.”

Samaranch said he had recognized, right from the start of the bidding campaign, the attraction of Rio because South America has never staged the Games. He had suggested, in vain, trying to make a deal between Madrid and Rio with the South Americans perhaps supporting the Spanish capital for 2020.

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

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