Exclusive: Madrid 2020 bid will be fiscally responsible, promises Blanco
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
May 22 - Madrid 2020 have promised to present "responsible bid" in what are difficult economic times, its leader Alejandro Blanco (pictured left) promised here today.
Blanco, President of Madrid's bid and of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE), told insidethegames that here on the eve of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision on which five prospective host cities for Games would be shortlisted.
Madrid faces competition from Doha, Istanbul, Tokyo and Baku, whilst Rome has already pulled out due to the economic crisis engulfing the Eurozone.
Spain have been hit by the crisis, with the increased uncertainty over whether Greece will pull out of the Euro prompting fears that the country's banks could be exposed in an ensuing escalation of the economic woes.
"We have a concern about Greece but this is not only the concern of Spain," Blanco began.
"It would be hard if Greece comes out of Euro but that is something that is not in our hands.
"We believe we have a responsible bid," he added, before saying "spending lots of money is not the way the world is going."
"First we have to see what happens tomorrow and in Buenos Aires [where the IOC is due to announce the 2020 on September 7 next year].
"If we get the Games one of the things we have is that this is going to be not such an expensive thing because most venues are there already."
In all some 27 of 36 venues required are already built, with six new permanent venues required if Madrid is successful, Blanco claimed.
The Madrid 2020 bid chief also reiterated recent comments by London 2012 chairman Seb Coe, that it was the right thing to invest in sport at a time of economic difficulty.
"The best thing to try and finish the economic crisis is to invest in sport," insisted Blanco, who also said that because of the crisis, young people had become more supportive of the Madrid 2020 bid.
"Nearly 90 per cent of young people thought that it would be the biggest help for the economy.
"It is a very difficult moment for a generation of youngsters in Spain but also in other European countries.
"We have to fight for them to help them have something in the future."
Blanco who is part of a delegation here which also includes Madrid's Mayor Ana Botella (pictured above centre) and double Olympic sailing gold medallist Theresa Zabell (left), pointed out that support for the Games, which is high at 84 per cent of the population, was particularly strong amongst those under-25 years of age.
With a nod to London, whose preparations for this summer's Olympics are ahead of schedule despite going into an economic crisis of their own after winning the right to host the Games in 2005, Blanco said: "The cities that have hosted the Olympic Games all have ups and downs.
"There is such a long time until the Olympics.
"Right now the Government has taken measures for the recovery of the economy.
"It is very hard, it is very difficult but it is what we have to do," he concluded.
Though the economy has suffered, Spain have excelled on the field of play.
Blanco said they were the world's number one team in recent years in those sports with the most media exposure, with the exploits of their football team the most notable.
They won the World Cup in 2010, the first time in the country's history, two years after winning the European Championships, whilst Rafa Nadal has been one of the dominant forces on the tennis circuit.
"It is the most important factor of people getting together right now," Blanco said.
"With the values of sports we can make a better society.
"Organising the Games will help our kids to be much better people...that is why we want the Olympics because they have moral values.
"It is not just about success.
"When things go smoothly people do not care about what they have around, they do not look to the sides.
"When you start having problems that is when you start thinking what can you change to solve them - you start looking around."
Madrid's bid for 2020 is their third in a row, following a failure to win the right to stage the Games in 2012 and 2016, when they lost out at the final round to Rio de Janeiro.
Their experience at getting past that first hurdle has given added confidence to Madrid.
Blanco said: "Much work has been done with the 2012 bid and 2016.
"Last time we had a very good evaluation and so we have to continue with that.
"The other four bids are very strong and that is very good for the Olympic movement.
"All the cities have very strong bids."
Blanco was also keen to stress to insidethegames the Madrid 2020 legacy, which with so many venues already complete, would not be focused on infrastructural improvements, but instead about values and the environment.
"We have two points with the legacy," he explained.
"One of them is the values, moral values.
"Another way we want the legacy to be is environmental.
"[We want] people to live and to feel differently...Spain is the number one at social activity.
"It will be a huge project to recuperate the environment."
Another factor in Madrid's favour, according to Blanco, is the number of sports events they have put on in recent years.
Spain has hosted 85 European Championships and 77 World Championships in the last 10 years.
In the next two years they will also hold World Championships in basketball, handball, swimming, judo, shooting, sailing and cycling.
Spain has only ever hosted the Olympic Games once before, in Barcelona in 1992.
That was one of the most successful of recent times, and Blanco is determined that if they are successful, they will put on an even better Games.
"It is impossible to organise something as good as Barcelona if you do not feel sport," he said.
"Spain is very passionate about sport, so what we have to do is see how well Barcelona did and make it even better."
First though, is tomorrow's crucial decision, and Blanco would not be drawn on any predictions on who will and will not progress – on the record at least.
He is at least confident though of a positive outcome.
"Twenty four hours before the decision it's normal to be a bit nervous about it but hopefully the decision is going to be a good one and we will pass."
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