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Spanish Olympic boss still upbeat over 2020 hopes

English.news.cn   2013-08-07 22:12:09            

MADRID, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Alejandro Blanco, the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee and of the Madrid bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, remains optimistic that it can be third time lucky for Madrid when the 2020 host city is announced in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7.

Madrid lost out to London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in the contest for 2016 and is now competing against Tokyo and Istanbul, with Tokyo probably looking the strongest rivals, although Blanco is not worried that the Japanese capital is favorite with the bookmakers.

"The betting doesn't have a lot to do with reality. If we take a look back at history, we can see that the favorite in the betting has never won and I like that. The betting world moves for different parameters, while the International Olympic Committee has valued us well and that is our strength," he said, ruling out any surprise last minute moves from the Madrid bid in Rio.

"The choice of a host city should not be decided for things like that, but if the president of the government (Mariano Rajoy) goes, then it shows the country has given maximum importance to the candidacy. Everyone goes at the end in order to try and give the final push," he said.

While Rajoy's current political problems, including the Barcenas corruption scandal may not make him the ideal representative for Spain at the moment, Prince Felipe, the heir to the Spanish throne does fit the bill. The Prince retains an excellent public image and was even the flagbearer for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where he competed in sailing.

"He is a great ambassador, an Olympian, a diplomat and he has lived the experience and is able to explain the feeling," said Blanco. "I can't thank him enough for his support and there will be nobody better than the Prince, no matter who Tokyo and Istanbul take."

"The project has always undergone a valuation, now we have to strengthen the message, structure our intervention and offer important messages," he added.

One of the major appeals of the Madrid bid is that many of the venues are already in place along with a great part of the hotel and transport infrastructure and Blanco believes that IOC could positively value the austerity of the proposal.

"We have to adapt the Games to the moment we are living in and we can't invest more and more. The installations have to be good, but also a legacy for the citizens. Sport and the Olympics can't be just for the rich and our candidacy used a lot of what Madrid already has without wasting money," he explained.

Blanco regretted that the Spanish football league will have already started when the host city is decided, which means no footballers will travel to support the bid, although he said he was optimistic Barcelona's Leo Messi would make a video to show his support.

"I have not yet met any sportsperson who I have asked to support us, who has said no," said Blanco.

"All I ask is that the IOC members study our bid and if they find a better one, then they should vote for, but if they believe ours is the best then they should vote for it. You pay for being arrogant, but I am confident," he said.

Editor: Yang Lina
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