Madrid unveils its 'Games of the People' bid

December 22, 2008 2:03:50 PM PST
Madrid is confident it can rebound from its failed attempt to land the 2012 Olympics and win its bid to host the 2016 Games.Bid leader Mercedes Coghen presented details of Madrid's application on Tuesday, calling it the "Games of the People."

The bid is built around the Spanish capital's physical -- and cultural -- regeneration.

"Our motivation is that the games can lift the life of the people in their city, especially in the social and educational aspects," mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said. "The whole city will be organized into an Olympic village. This will be the most extraordinary adventure that the city of Madrid has ever organized."

This is Madrid's second straight Olympic bid. It placed third in the 2012 vote, behind winner London and runner-up Paris. Another Spanish city, Barcelona, hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics.

"I think we have achieved everything we need to be the winning candidature for the 2016 Games," Spanish Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco said.

"We have the experience of hosting and executing important international events and championships," said Blanco, pointing to this summer's America's Cup as one example. "And there's always been great support from city officials and the public."

Blanco also cited Spain's August holiday period as an advantage, as the Olympics would be scheduled to take place between Aug. 5-21.

"We're likely to see less traffic during this period, too," he said.

The eastern edge of Madrid will be the focus of the Olympic bid, with 15 competition sites located there. In all, 25 of the 30 venues are less than 7.46 miles from the city center.

"This will allow the Olympic family, spectators and officials to travel fast and efficiently ... in a clean environment, in which maximum priority will be given the quality of clean air," Ruiz-Gallardon said.

The western edge of the city -- currently undergoing major renovation to turn the area around the river Manzanares into green space -- will host the remainder of the Madrid's events.

The other candidate cities are Baku, Azerbaijan; Chicago; Doha, Qatar; Prague, Czech Republic, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Tokyo. All seven cities submitted their bid files to the International Olympic Committee by Monday's deadline.

The IOC executive board will cut the field to a shortlist of finalists in June, and the full IOC will choose the host city on Oct. 2, 2009, at Copenhagen, Denmark.

Coghen expects the IOC to trim the number to four, with Madrid expected to make the cut.

"I think we have a model of convenience. It's not all about the spectacle or the money -- it's also about feeling," Coghen said.

Of the leading bids, Coghen took a dig at Chicago.

"Chicago's bid is a little general," she said. "I think it's the little things that (the IOC) really wants spelled out."


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