January 30 - Madrid today launched the logo for its bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, an event deemed to be a success despite the fact the logo was quickly mired in controversy with one poll claiming that 81 per cent of Spaniards did not like it and a leading commentator describing it as "naff".
Madrid Mayor Ana Botella and President of the Spanish Olympic Committee and head of the Madrid 2020 bid, Alejandro Blanco, unveiled the new team, graphic branding, and website before a specially invited audience of 500, which included some of the country's most influential business leaders and International Olympic Committee (IOC) members, Juan Antonio Samaranch, Marisol Casado, Jose Perurena and HRH Infanta Pilar de Borbón, who is an honorary IOC member.
The event was hosted by Virginia Ruano, owner of ten Grand Slam titles and two silver Olympic medals, together with Gervasio Deferr, Spain's most succesful gymnast with two gold medals at Sydney and Athens and a silver from Beijing.
Luis Peiret (pictured), a 22-year-old graphic arts student from Zaragoza, was unveiled as the winner of a national competition to design the logo.
His design consists of the letter M for Madrid and the number 20 in front of the coloured rings of the Olympics stylised into arches inspired by the La Puerta de Alcala, one of the most famous landmarks in the Spanish capital.
But the lettering appears to show "20020", an effect that brought much derision in the Spanish press and on social networking sites as the logo began trending on Twitter in a row reminiscent of the one that engulfed London 2012 when they launched their logo five years ago.
Tapsa advertising agency, which has been responsible for the design, made some changes to Peiret's original entry, including trimming the letter M which appears to have led to the confusion.
"To me it is confusing and naff," tweeted Pedro J Ramirez, the editor of El Mundo newspaper.
In an on-line poll on the website of El Pais, Spain's leading newspaper, 81 per cent of people said they did not like the logo.
But, just as London stood by their controversial logo, Madrid want to concentrate on being successful on what is their fourth bid for the Olympics following unsuccessful campaigns for 1972, 2012 and 2016.
"Today is an important day for the future of Spanish sport, for the future of this country," Blanco told the audience, who included Pedro J Ramirez, who memorably won the 1500 metres the last time Spain held the Olympics, at Barcelona in 1992.
"We want [the Olympics].
"We can do it.
"We dream of them, we are in love with them and we need them.
"We owe it to society, and, above all, to the youth that encourages us."
Botella echoed Blanco's plea that Madrid should be rewarded for its perseverance and that the bid would be an athlete-orientated effort.
Among the athletes already at the heart of the bid are former sailor Theresa Zabell, a gold medallist at Barcelona and Atlanta in 1996, who is the chief executive of international relations for Madrid.
She is set to be joined in the team by another gold medallist, Virginia Ramírez, a member of the Spanish hockey that won the Olympic gold medal in Barcelona, who will be assisting Victor Sanchez, the sectretary general of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE), the chief executive of the bid.
Other prominent former athletes involved include Alfonso Rodríguez de Sadia, a former gymnast who competed in three Games, who will be the marketing and communications Director, and Raul Chapado, a former triple jumper who took part at Athens in 2004, who has been appointed as sports director, a role he also did for the 2016 bid.
They will work alongside Rodrigo Garza, a member of the hockey side that won the silver medals at Beijing in 2008, who will be responsible for operations, and Rafa Pascual, Spain's greatest ever volleyball player, who will oversee sports coordination.
"This bid will be led by athletes," said Botella.
"Madrid is capable of organising the greatest Games in history.
"We deserve the Games."
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