Lost and bewildered Madrid mulls 2024 Olympic bid

Last Updated: Mon, Sep 09, 2013 19:10 hrs

Madrid, Sep 9 (IANS) The members of the Madrid 2020 Olympic bid returned to Spain Monday morning unsure as to whether or not the Spanish capital should present a fourth consecutive bid to host the Games in 2024.

"You want be to say something that I am not going to say," said Madrid 2020 president and the head of the Spanish Olympic Committee Alejandro Blanco.

"The first thing I am going to do is to listen to a lot of people," he was quoted as saying by Xinhua, still surprised that Madrid was eliminated in the first round of voting, when nearly everyone had at least expected to reach the final vote against Tokyo.

As it turned out, Madrid actually did worse than in previous failed attempts in 2012 and 2016, polling 26 votes of IOC members and losing a vote-off against Istanbul.

"There is no logical explanation for that and we will have to look for it," said Blanco.

The feeling in Spain is that the Madrid 2020 bid was handicapped by the ongoing economic crisis in the country with the IOC failing to be convinced by the city's project for a 'low-budget' Games.

Meanwhile, questions about doping in the wake of the Operation Puerto scandal were not dealt with satisfactorily in the Madrid presentation Saturday, while the speeches of Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy and especially, the Major of Madrid, Ana Botella, were disappointing.

Rajoy spoke about his government's predictions for the economy, while Botella gave an ill-advised speech in English, which has quickly become an object of ridicule on nearly every social media site in Spain.

However, Blanco appeared to not have taken those factors into consideration.

"It could be that the IOC is currently oriented towards other markets and that old Europe is going to lose out. But that does not mean there will not be a change of mentality over the next four years," he said.

"We have to study what happened in the last votes of the IOC, but that is a reflection that will take a long time and we have to do that in a very serious manner. We have to listen to the people, but the first conclusion is that the best project has lost and that is a fact."

Early opinion polls carried out Sunday, the day after Madrid suffered its humiliating defeat, suggest the majority of the Spanish people would be against seeing their capital city launch a fourth attempt to host the Games with a poll on the website of Spanish state TV station rtve.es currently saying 73 percent of Spaniards are against trying again.

The year of 2024 would possibly be even harder for Madrid to win given that Paris is likely to return to the fray, while San Francisco is being touted as a possible American candidate and with Spain still in crisis and the sport facing cutbacks as a result of the failure of the 2020 bid, most would prefer to see the money spent in more constructive ways.

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