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article imageOp-Ed: Stunned silence as Madrid fails in bid for 2020 Olympics

By Anne Sewell     Sep 8, 2013 in Sports
Madrid - People had got their hopes up a little too high that Madrid would succeed in their bid to host the 2020 Olympics. As Tokyo was announced the winner, everyone just went home, very disappointed. But is this such a bad thing, in a crisis-torn nation?
There were thousands out in the streets on Saturday, waiting to hear that Madrid's bid to host the 2020 Games had won. A huge party was planned in Spain's capital to celebrate. However, there ended up being shock and a stunned silence as Madrid's bid was thrown out by the Olympic chiefs.
It was the third time the city had tried out for the Olympics, and "third time lucky" just didn't apply to Madrid.
Residents of the city were dreaming of a potential economic windfall for the recession-hit nation, but these dreams were soon shattered.
Moments before the announcement. thousands packing the city center had been singing "Madrid, Madrid" and dancing in preparation for celebrations. "Yes, we can!" everyone chanted around the city's Puerta de Alcala city gate, where giant screens relayed the action as it happened in Buenos Aires.
Then the bad news came through from Buenos Aires. Madrid had failed in the first round, leaving Tokyo and Istanbul to fight out the second.
Spotlights still lit the Madrid 2020 logo on the city gates, but silence fell like a stone. All the people who had been planning on partying all night, some of whom had been clutching little red balloons, just let them fly away, and simply went home.
El País has some photos of officials in Madrid, as they waited in suspense for the result of the bid.
To some people, it was not such a surprise. While the city had around 80-90 percent (this varies as per the Mayoress — see below) of the necessary infrastructure in place for the games, what was still needed would have cost at least €1.6 billion, which would be better spent on schooling, medical facilities, etc. in the crisis-torn country.
According to left-wing Izquierda Unida politician and Madrid Councillor Jorge García Castaño, Madrid is in debt to the tune of €8 billion euros. This is twice as much as all other Spanish cities combined and these aren't exactly optimal conditions for staging a major event like the Olympics. He had also, earlier in the year, referred to 2020 Olympics in Madrid as "The Hunger Games."
On top of this, during a recent Olympic bid press conference, the city's mayoress, Ana Botella, made a bit of a fool of herself with the world's media.
The wife of former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, Botella doesn't speak the best English, and rather than listen on the headphones for a translation of the questions being fired at her, she made incorrect answers to them instead.
For example, Stephen Wade with Associated Press asked,
"As a matter of public policy, you represent a country with unemployment at 27 percent. Do you think this is the best public policy decision, the best way to spend Spain's money. Particularly money of a country that is in austerity. And particularly since much research shows that the Olympics don't bring much of an economic boost to the economy."
Botella immediately gave an answer detailing Madrid’s existing, quality infrastructure for the Games.
Olympic Committee President Alejandro Blanco immediately warned her, “They haven’t asked about that.”
Even then, when giving an incorrect answer to the question raised, she got her percentages wrong, by first stating that 90 percent of the Olympic infrastructure was already in place, and then stating that it was 80 percent ready.
In the video below (Spanish language), the presenter of La Sexta's satirical TV show "El Intermedio" went over Botella's haphazard answers and suggested:
"Mayor, if you don't understand the questions, I've got the same recommendation I give to those who walk around listening to reggae at top volume: 'Why don't you put on some headphones?'"
Those who can understand Spanish will find the video below quite funny. Especially as when Botella is being asked questions in English, she has no headphones, but as soon as she is asked a question in Spanish, she puts on the translation headphones? As they say in Spanish, ¿Por qué?
Apparently in a previous show, one of the other presenters, Dani Mateo had already noticed Botella's rather bad handling of English. and was heard to say:
“Those of you that can’t speak English, read the subtitles, and those of you who can, get a whisky with ice because you’re going to need it.”
In her English speech to the delegates, her English doesn't sound too bad, well, not great but ... anyhow it makes one wonder what really went wrong:
So we just have to be content that Madrid failed in the 2020 Olympic bid and congratulate Tokyo on their win. Always bearing in mind, of course, that Fukushima is still spewing out radioactive waste into the world, and things could quite possibly change by that year!
Oh, yes, and there's a great mix of the Madrid mayor telling us all about "A relaxing cup of café con leche" doing the rounds:
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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