January 8 - Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, regarded as the home of bullfighting, will stage basketball if Madrid's campaign to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics is successful, it was revealed today as the Spanish capital today published details of its Candidature file.
It is one of several iconic venues that will stage events if Madrid upsets the odds and beats rivals Istanbul and Tokyo when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chooses the host city at its Session in Buenos Aires on September 7.
El Retiro Park, one of Madrid's largest open green spaces, would host beach volleyball, and Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, the home of nine-time European champions Real Madrid, the finals of the football.
Madrid claimed at the event staged in the Assembly Hall at the Palacio de Cibeles, where the 370 page three volume Candidature file was published publicly for the first time, that 28 of the 35 competition venues have already been built.
Only four permanent venues and three temporary ones need to be constructed, including the one at Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, which was opened in 1931 and still holds bullfights every day during the San Isidro Fiesta, and every Sunday or holiday during the season, which lasts from March to December.
The 25,000-capacity Neo-Mudéjar (Moorish) style building has hosted other sports before.
In 2008, it was converted into a tennis clay court and the Spanish Davis Cup team, led by Rafael Nadal, beat the United States in the semi-final.
The use of the iconic venues has been inspired by the success of London 2012, which used Horse Guards Parade to stage beach volleyball and Greenwich Park to host equestrian.
"Like London, Madrid already has from the beginning huge strengths that will help it stage an Olympics," said José Ignacio Wert, Spain's Minister for Education, Culture and Sport.
The fact so many of the facilities are already in place means it would cost Madrid only a fraction of how much London spent on 2012, officials claimed.
According to the candidature file, it would cost €1.52 billion (£1.24 billion/$1.99 billion), plus another €150 million (£122 billion/$196 billion) for services such as health and security.
The dire economic situation in Spain is seen as the biggest obstacle to Madrid being successful in what is their fourth bid, having previously missed out on 1972, which went to Munich, and 2012 and 2016, awarded to London and Rio de Janeiro respectively.
The country recently entered its second recession in two years.
Unemployment was at 25 per cent in the third quarter, more than double the European Union average, while many working Spaniards are being forced to swallow painful cuts in wages and benefits and the Government is slashing spending on hospitals and schools.
But Madrid 2020 has consistently claimed that it should be judged on how the economy might look in seven years time and not how it is now.
"Today the biggest weakness we have is the economy but we can overcome it," Madrid 2020 and Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) President Alejandro Blanco said.
"It's rare that the rational and the emotional, the practical and the idealistic, can be united in one project.
"The Games will be an injection of collective optimism through sport.
"There is no investment with a greater medium-and long-term benefit than an Olympic Games."
Regional Government President Ignacio González claimed that London 2012, which provided 20,000 jobs, demonstrated that staging the Olympics and Paralympics would be a massive boost to the Spanish economy.
"One of the most important aspects of this bid is job creation," he said.
Perhaps aware, that in the current economic climate, it needs to ensure the support of ordinary Madridistas, it is planned that ticket prices will be affordable for the Games, which it is proposed is held between August 7 and August 26, with the Paralympics taking place between September 11 and 22.
More than 38 per cent of the tickets will cost less than €39 (£32/$50) and nearly 60 per cent will cost less than €62.50 (£51/$80), while a large number of tickets for high-demand events will be allocated through lotteries at a price of only €31 (£25/$40).
The main hubs for the Games would be the Campo de las Naciones, where the Olympic and Paralympic Village would be built, in the Olympic Park, and Manzanares, located less than 15 minutes away and home to nine of the venues.
The close proximity of the venues to each other and the resulting reduction in travel time are both core factors of the project, Madrid 2020 officials claim.
The Olympic Village would be only 10 kilometres from the airport, 10 minutes from the city centre and a three-minute walk from the Olympic Stadium, while 90 per cent of the athletes will stay in accommodation situated less than 15 minutes from venues where they will compete, it is claimed.
The Estadio La Peineta – or Madrid Stadium – which would be the main Olympic Stadium, is currently under reconstruction and is due to be completed in 2015 when La Liga club Atlético Madrid will move there.
According to a survey conducted last September nationwide public support for Madrid's bid is estimated to be 80 per cent, it is claimed.
This is despite a growing campaign for Catalonia to become independent.
In all, the documents submitted to the IOC comprised of 62 files and more than 20,000 pages, packed in 29 boxes weighing a total of 660 kilograms.
Madrid claims to be the biggest capital city in Europe never to have hosted the Olympics and Mayor Ana Botella thinks it should be given the opportunity, 28 years after Barcelona hosted the Games in 1992, an event widely considered to be one of the most successful in history.
"Madrid is one of Europe's great cities and the only one that has yet to be given the honour of staging the Olympics and Paralympics," she said.
"It is our time."
You can read the full candidature file by clicking these links.
Volume 1(288.26 KB)
Volume 2(1.84 MB)
Volume 3(1.64 MB)
Volume 4(1.83 MB)
Volume 5(7.6 MB)
Volume 6(6.74 MB)
Volume 7(8.11 MB)
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
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November 2012: Iconic Madrid 2020 venue set for major revamp