MADRID, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The Evaluation Commission of the International Olympic Committee this Thursday gave a very positive assessment of the candidacy of the Spanish capital city of Madrid after their four day visit to check on the city's bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, the president of the Commission Sir Colin Reedie said the 2020 bid was the best the city had so far organized, adding that he had been ' impressed' by a 'very solid and professional' campaign which had the advantage of overwhelming public support.
"We have seen the compromise of the administration and the support of businesses, but we also know there is popular enthusiasm for the Games, which has been influenced by the support of Spanish sportsmen and women," said Reedie.
"This third candidacy is better than the first and the second candidacies," he added, in reference to the failed bids of 2012 when Madrid finished behind Paris and London and 2016, when the Spanish capital lost out to Rio de Janeiro.
He also said the economic crisis which was manifested during the visit by strikes on the Madrid Metro system and the Club de Campo, where golf and modern pentathlon would be played, was not a major factor given that the IOC expect the Spanish economy to recover, adding, "there are demonstrations in many places in the world."
The declarations were welcomed by the Madrid bid with the Alejandro Blanco, the President of the Spanish Olympic Committee declaring, "We think that Madrid is now ready to hold the Games with a project adapted to the needs of the IOC. We have the maximum options, but there is still a long way to go and we will not stop working until September 7 to achieve victory."
Wednesday saw the IOC delegates attend a gala dinner in the Spanish royal palace in the presence of Prince Felipe de Asturias, who also gave the closing speech on Thursday lunchtime expressing his satisfaction with the way the evaluation had gone.
"We have passed the exam with an 'excellent,' and maybe with honors," said the Prince, who highlighted the support for the candidacy throughout Spain and praising the "magnificent" job that had been carried out.
The Prince's optimism reflects the feeling that Madrid, which is competing against Tokyo and the Turkish capital of Istanbul to host the 2020 Olympics, has got a real chance of making its third time lucky.
The IOC visit saw the delegates visit key venues for 2020, starting with a visit to Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where Real Madrid goalkeeper, Iker Casillas saved penalties taken by members of the IOC, and other sites such as the Las Ventas bullring and the Stadium of the Peineta, which is currently being developed to become the home ground of Atletico Madrid football club and, more importantly in this case, the Olympic Stadium.
Madrid have several advantages, given that the city already has 45,000 hotel rooms available, an excellent transport infrastructure already in place, while 80 percent of the prospective venues are already in place.
This means Madrid would not need to spend too much money on new constructions, although obviously the athletes' village and a media village, for a prospective 19,000 journalists, would need to be constructed with the city promising to make the buildings as ecologically sustainable and 'smart' as possible.
The Spanish hope a successful bid for Madrid would give a boost to Spain's economy and we will see whether or not they will get the chance when the host city is named on September 7.