March 9 - Xavier Trias, the Mayor of Barcelona, has revealed that it is irrelevant whether or not his city wins the right to stage the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics but he confirmed that they will bid for the event to help develop sport in the region.
The Barcelona-Pirineus 2022 bid would see events held both in the city and in the Pyrenees Mountains ski station to the north in a plan similar to the one used at Vancouver 2010, where events were staged up to 150 kilometres (93 miles) out of the city at Whistler.
A winning bid would make Barcelona the first city ever to host both the Summer and Winter Games, having staged the former in 1992.
Having hosted the 1972 Summer Games, Munich attempted to do the same by applying to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.
They lost out to South Korean city Pyeongchang.
But the Mayor said that even if Barcelona is not successful in their bid for the competition, which will be awarded at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in 2015, it will ensure that the focus of the city remains on sport.
"We will bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and for this city, it doesn't even matter if we win or not," said Trias here.
"For Barcelona, sport is at the heart of everything and it has been like that since we hosted the 1992 Olympic Games, which created a fantastic legacy for us.
"It is important that we keep our focus on sport and we would certainly do that with a bid for the Winter Olympics, which would highlight a sport in the city that is not well known compared to sports like football.
"Bidding is a competition and competition is sport; so we love that."
Some eyebrows have been raised regarding a Barcelona 2022 Olympic bid since Madrid are currently bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games following previous unsuccessful bids in 2012 and 2016, which were awarded to London and Rio de Janeiro respectively.
However, it is suspected by some that the rivalry between the two major cities is causing senior figures in Barcelona to hope secretly that Madrid's bid fails, thereby boosting the prospects of a successful Barcelonian 2022 bid.
The rivalry is best illustrated when the city's two giant football teams, FC Barcelona (pictured above in blue and burgandy) and Real Madrid (pictured above in white), face-off in high profile matches that are often marred by violent tackles and red cards.
Speaking here, Barcelona's Deputy Mayor of Quality of Life, Equality and Sports, Maite Fandos said a successful 2022 bid could provide a major boost to city's economy, one of the same main arguments being put forward by the Madrid 2020 team.
"What is amazing is the breadth of impact that the Olympic Games can have – not only as a sporting event but also in terms of economic regeneration," she said.
"They create a significant amount of jobs for local people.
"Equally, the Games are a unique opportunity to showcase the city to the world because hosting the Games successfully helps bring both sporting and non-sporting events to the city.
"Barcelona is the inspiration for any city holding an Olympic Games after what happened in 1992.
"When you see you can host an edition of the Olympic Games – and 1992 was the best in history in our view – it gives you great self-esteem.
"It placed us on the world map from a sporting point of view and led to other events coming to the city.
"The 1992 Olympic Games let people discover our city.
"Before then, they didn't know how capable the Catalans were in hosting such a major event.
"That is why we want the 2022 Winter Olympics, to replicate that 30 years after 1992."
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