Madrid - a blue print for many future Olympic cities?
JOHN GOODBODY / Sports Features Communications
January 8 - Madrid today unveiled its plans for staging the 2020 Olympics, emphasising a tight budget, with many of the venues and infrastructure already in place, and believing that this strategy could show the way for many cities bidding to stage future Games.
The three candidates, Tokyo and two European capitals, Istanbul and Madrid, are this week handing over their bid books, finalising their applications, to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). They then await the site visits of the IOC Evaluation Commission in March to assess the bids. The decision on which city will host the 2020 Summer Games will be made at the 125th IOC Session on September 7 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
On Monday, the Madrid delegation flew to Lausanne to give its candidature book to the IOC with a high-powered group that included representatives of all three levels of government, national, regional and city, with the Mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella saying that their presence proved that the bid was “a project the whole country is behind.” Among the others present were the three IOC members in Spain: Juan Antonio Samaranch, Marisol Casado and Jose Perurena and leading figures in the Madrid2020 organisation.
Theresa Zabell, Madrid’s Chief Executive Officer for International Relations, said today the city was emphasising that so much work had already been done. This is because it is the third successive time that Madrid has tried to host the Games in recent years. Beaten for the 2012 Olympics, Madrid might well have been rewarded if it, rather than Paris, had opposed London in the final round, the Spanish capital was then a distant runner-up to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Games. But, with each attempt, completed venues in the city have improved its prospects.
Zabell, twice Olympic sailing champion, pointed out:”We do not need to build infrastructure or many venues because there has already been investment over the last 10 years, during which time Spain has staged 400 top level sports events, 250 of them in Madrid. This country has held 85 European Championships and 75 world championships.
“There will be three temporary venues: a velodrome; a BMX track; and also one for beach volleyball, which will take place in a drained artificial lake in a park in the middle of the city. The only permanent venues still needed are for gymnastics, for rowing/canoeing, for canoe slalom and for shooting. There will be no further investment until the host city of the Games is decided. That is something that the Spanish people do not have to worry about.”
The major expenditure will be for building the Olympic Village to hold 17,800 people and also the media and broadcast centre. The total cost for erecting or renovating all the venues remains at $2.4 billion.
Zabell said:”There are two ways of staging an Olympic Games. There is the case of Barcelona in 1992 and London in 2012, when you use the opportunity to transform the city, to accelerate a development which otherwise might take many years. The other is to do what what we are doing and to use the facilities that already exist.”
There will be two main sites: the Campo de las Naciones, where the Olympic and Paralympic Village will be sited, and Manzanares, which is located less than 15 minutes away and home to nine of the venues.”
Zabell says:”It is a pity that all the IOC members cannot come to the city and see what the reality is. However, fortunately most of them have visited us in the past and they already know what we have.”
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