Argentine Olympic Committee President hints at 2028 Summer Olympic bid

Saturday, 26 May 2012
By David Gold at the Sport Accord Convention in Québec City

Buenos Aires_23-05-12May 26 - Buenos Aires' bid for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games, if successful, could pave the way for Argentina to make an attempt to stage the Summer Olympics in 2028 or 2032.

That was the view of Gerardo Werthein (pictured below), the President of the Argentine Olympic Committee and of Buenos Aires 2018.

"We thought this would make a lot of sense," he said of the bid here at SportAccord.

"It is a very cost effective bid, it is a way to have a starting point and maybe in 12 or 16 years we will be mature enough, we will have the resources and the project to bid again for a Summer Olympic Games."

Argentina has never hosted an Olympic Games, but they could capitalise on the Movement's arrival in South America for Rio 2016 and help promote the Games across the continent.

The first Summer Youth Olympics was held in Singapore in 2010, and the next edition of the Games will be in Nanjing, China in 2014.

Earlier this year the first ever Winter Youth Olympics was held in Innsbruck, Austria; the 2016 version will be staged in Lillehammer, Norway.

Buenos Aires will face stiff competition from Glasgow, the British city hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

They also face Guadalajara in Mexico, which staged last year's Pan and Parapan American Games, and Poznań in Poland, which is hosting some football European Championship games this summer.

Medellín in Colombia and Rotterdam in the Netherlands are the other two contenders.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will shortlist candidate cities in January 2013, with the final decision being made next July.

Gerardo Werthein_23-05-12
Werthein (pictured above) believes Argentina's contribution to the Olympic Movement makes them the ideal candidate.

"Argentina is one of the 13 countries which founded the International Olympic Committee," he explained.

"Argentina has been very proactive in the Movement for many years.

"As a founder of the IOC it was the time to look for the opportunity to host something in the frame of the Olympic Games.

"We have a lot of spirit but very little cash.

"We spoke with authorities; everyone is very enthusiastic and likes the project.

"Everybody loves to make something for the kids.

"Our top athletes think if you build based on the kids there is a future.

"This is how the bid came out with a very consensual opinion of all the different factors.

"Buenos Aires would not only offer sporting venues but a cultural experience and is a city that also we thought is very suitable to receive the kids and send them back safe.

"This is a big thing – I am a father of three kids – including an Olympian (equestrian competitor Gregorio) who has been all over the world.

"Always your biggest concern is if he goes there will he be ok?"

Leo Messi_23-05-12
The Buenos Aires 2018 bid has also been given a helping hand by one of the country's most famous faces – that of Barcelona forward Leo Messi (pictured above).

The triple Ballon D'Or winner has popped up in an advert promoting Buenos Aires' bid, and Werthein said he made the decision to appear in the commercial alone and for free.

The 24-year-old has sometimes been criticised in Argentina for not producing the same performances for his country as his club team.

"He has a very strong commitment with sport and kids," Werthein said.

"I am sure that not only Messi, but all of our top sportsmen, are involved and committed to this moment."

Infrastructure will not be an issue either, Werthein insisted, as he said "everything is ready to host the Games".

The Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti (pictured below), the home ground of Argentine football giants River Plate, will be the Olympic Stadium for the Games, and is one of the venues that would be renovated for the Youth Olympics.

Estadio Monumental_Antonio_Vespucio_Liberti_23-05-12
"Looking six years from now we should do some lifting for some existing venues as they need to be modernised," Werthein admitted.

"Buenos Aires has it all," he added, before assuring that they would not be spending extravagantly on the Games.

"We are not planning to do an outrageous investment; we are going to be cautious, prudent and focused."

"We will work very hard, we are very committed.

"Myself, at this stage of my life, I am committed to this – if you ask me if I am more interested in doing business or sport, I have done business, so this is my life.

"Sport gave me a lot – a good family, good kids.

"It was a time to give back to society and the way we decided to do it was with sport.

"This can be a starting point for a new era of the Youth Olympic Games to integrate the world to this experience.

"Not only just for television or traditional media but in a way that all the world will communicate and be part of these Games."

Adapting the famous phrase of the late eminent United States President John F Kennedy, Werthein signed off by saying: "We are not only thinking what the Games will do for Argentina, but also what Buenos Aires can do for the Games."

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