Quantcast

Madrid hopes Olympics help economy, doping fight

By Paul Logothetis

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Feb. 16 2012 1:20 p.m. MST

Alejandro Blanco, President of Madrid 2020 Organization, left, and Theresa Zabell, International Relations CEO, right, pose for photographers in front of the IOC headquarter before they submit the candidature bid of 2020 Madrid Olympic summer games at the International Olympic Committee, IOC, headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tuesday Feb. 14, 2012.

Jean-Christophe Bott, AP Photo/Keystone

Enlarge photo»

MADRID — Madrid expects its 2020 Olympic bid to help revive the country's sluggish economy and reinforce Spain's commitment to fight doping.

Organizers presented their bid application to the media Thursday, two days after Rome dropped out because the Italian government refused to supply financial guarantees.

The remaining candidates — Madrid, Istanbul, Tokyo, Doha and Baku, Azerbaijan — will wait for the International Olympic Committee's next meeting in Quebec City in May to see if they make the final shortlist.

"Nobody knows the truth about how Rome's exit will affect us, whether it will harm us or help us," Madrid bid leader Alejandro Blanco said. "We need to focus on the bids that remain now, not the ones that were."

Madrid, which has a bid budget of $50 million, is making its third consecutive bid after failed attempts for the 2012 and 2016 Games.

Bid officials promised compact and environmentally responsible games, saying nearly 80 percent of the infrastructure is completed. Funding has been guaranteed by all levels of government, even though the economy is expected to shrink and nearly one-quarter of Spaniards are unemployed.

"The returns will be incalculable," Madrid Mayor Ana Botella said. "Winning the games would provide a great return in terms of jobs and for the image of the city internationally. We want to continue with the legacy left behind by Barcelona 1992."

Madrid's bid team promised no unnecessary investments, claiming Madrid was the best value-for-money of the five candidates. Blanco and Botella outlined the dossier, which pushed frugal messages such as "back to basics" and "intelligent games means intelligent legacy." Madrid promised a lower carbon footprint despite the Spanish capital regularly showing up among Europe's most polluted cities.

Blanco said Spain would have all necessary anti-doping legislation in place and that it was "impossible" for Spain to do more in the fight against doping after the country again fell under the spotlight following cyclist Alberto Contador's ban.

Blanco sought to shift the spotlight after the country's sports minister said Spain had "a problem with doping."

"We can't be our own worst enemy with this," Blanco said. "The issue of doping has become obsessive. ... The problem with doping is that every country has it. I don't know one that doesn't."

Blanco was among a majority of Spanish authorities who supported Contador, who received a retroactive two-year ban after failing to convince sport's highest court that a positive drug test taken during the 2010 Tour de France resulted from contaminated meat.

Contador was among the 50 cyclists implicated in 2006's Operation Puerto, the largest investigation into doping in cycling that failed to yield a single ban for riders from Spanish authorities.

The IOC will select the 2020 host city on Sept. 7, 2013, in Buenos Aires.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS