MADRID, Spain, 8 January 2013
SOUNDBITE 1 - Victor Sanchez, Technical advisor to Madrid 2020 (Spanish, 28 sec):
"80 percent of the sport infrastructure, and probably far more of the non-sporting infrastructure, is already here which means there will be no need for major investments. Furthermore 80 percent of the citizens support the bid for the Games. I think these are some very good arguments which perhaps make our candidacy different from the others."
"80% de las infraestructuras deportivas, quizas mucho mas de las infraestructuras necesarias no deportivas, ya construidas, no hace falta hacer grandes inversiones, y una ciudad y un pais que tienen un 80% de la ciudadanía que apoya la organización de los Juegos. Yo creo que son unos argumentos muy positivos y quizás nos hagan diferentes al resto de candidaturas"
SOUNDBITE 2; - Alejandro Blanco, President of Madrid 2020 bid (Spanish, 11 secs):
"We need them in order to have an injection of collective optimism thanks to sport, which at the moment is our greatest ambassador, our most universal and valuable brand."
"Y lo necesitamos para recibir un impulso general y una inyección de optimismo colectivo por la vía del deporte, en este momento nuestro mejor embajador, nuestra patente más universal y valiosa"
- VAR press conference
- VAR Mayor of Madrid Ana Botella, and president of Madrid region Ignacio Gonzalez
AFP TEXT STORY:
Olympics: Crisis-hit Madrid defends 2020 Oly bid
MADRID, Jan 8, 2013 (AFP) - Spain defended Tuesday a 1.7-billion-euro ($2.2 billion) bid to host the Olympics in Madrid in 2020 even as the country battles a recession and high unemployment while slashing spending.
Spain's delegation submitted the 360-page bid documents to the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday.
If Madrid beats favourites Tokyo and rival Istanbul, it estimates it would have to invest another 1.7 billion euros to complete the infrastructure for the games.
The budget is "austere and responsible," Education, Culture and Sports Minister Jose Ignacio Wert told a news conference in Madrid.
"With austerity as the rule, I have no doubt the returns will be positive," he said.
Madrid will find out in September this year whether it has been chosen, after finishing third for the 2012 and second for the 2016 editions.
Bid promoters, including Alejandro Blanco, head of the Spanish Olympic Committee, stressed that 28 of the 35 venues have already been built.
Of the seven remaining venues, only four including the Olympic Stadium would be permanent, requiring bigger investments than the other three temporary constructions.
Asked whether it was a good idea to be committing Spain to such spending when the state is cutting health and education budgets, Madrid regional government chief Ignacio Gonzalez said much of the investment would be financed by public-private partnerships.
Squeezed by a recession that began in mid-2011 and by an unemployment rate that has shot to 25 percent, Spain's authorities say they believe the Games can create jobs and lure tourists.
The bid team touted the 2012 London Games as an example of the economic benefits of being a host city.
According to Gonzalez, the London Games created 50,000 jobs, of which tens of thousands were permanent.
Madrid city mayor Ana Botella was among the delegation in Lausanne the previous day.
"It is a project the whole country is behind and a dream for all Spaniards," she said.
"The proof can be seen in the fact that three levels of government are represented here - the city, the regional and the national.
"We are here to give our support to the countless people who are working for and believe in Madrid's Olympic aspirations."