- POSTED: 12 Sep 2013 21:33
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Madrid's mayor said Thursday the Spanish capital should not bid for the 2024 Olympics after failing three times in a row to win the right to host the summer Games.
MADRID: Madrid's mayor said Thursday the Spanish capital should not bid for the 2024 Olympics after failing three times in a row to win the right to host the summer Games.
Olympic chiefs meeting in Buenos Aires on Saturday chose Tokyo to host the 2020 Games after rejecting Madrid in the first round of voting, a decision that shocked many Spaniards.
Madrid also lost in its bids to host the summer Games in 2012 and 2016 as well as in 1972.
"I think at this moment the Olympic race has already provided us with all the benefits which we can expect from it in the coming years. I believe that Madrid should not seek to host the Games in 2024," Madrid Mayor Ana Botella told reporters.
Madrid had tried to convince the International Olympic Committee that it could put on a memorable Games at a budget price amid a two-year recession that has sent the Spanish jobless rate spiralling above 26 per cent.
With 28 of the 35 venues have already in place, Madrid argued it would spend just $3.1 billion (2.35 billion euros) to host the 2020 Games and another $1.9 billion in construction investment.
Botella's English-language bid presentation to Olympic chiefs in Buenos Aires set off a storm of mostly light-hearted criticism over her unmistakable Spanish accent and some surprising phrases, especially her assertion: "There is nothing quite like a relaxing cup of cafe con leche in Plaza Mayor."
Some videos on YouTube had mixed the speech with music into "dance" or "dubstep" songs and T-shirts went on sale with a parody of the Starbucks logo, featuring a profile of Botella and the slogan: "Relaxing Cup of Cafe Con Leche in Plaza Mayor."
"Cafe con leche? I know this country's sense of humour very well and I laugh at myself many times," said Botella, who has been married since 1977 to former right-leaning prime minister Jose Maria Aznar.
French sports minister Valerie Fourneyron said late Wednesday in Buenos Aires that it was too early to talk of a bid from her country and more work needed to be carried out to determine whether hosting the Games would be feasible.
"An Olympic bid isn't only a technical bid about equipment and competition
sites, it's also a question of the social acceptability of the project for the
country," she told AFP.
"Before settling on a bid, we will have to look at all of these things."
An Asian candidate appears to be unlikely given that Tokyo hosts the 2020 Games two years after the Winter Olympics are held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The failure of Madrid and Istanbul this time round has paved the way for other prospective bidders, with Paris and Rome mentioned as possible candidates.
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said late Sunday that the country could be "serious candidates" for 2024 with either Milan or Rome.