The nine members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in Madrid to assess the city’s candidacy for the 2020 Games, spent their first day on Monday asking exhaustive questions about the capital’s installations.
Led by two of the three Spanish members of the IOC, José Perurena and Marisol Casado, after being greeted by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, inspectors asked how much it would cost to cover the Las Ventas bullring with a temporary roof — an undertaking that failed spectacularly at the last attempt when strong winds brought the structure down.
In the shadow of a Metro strike during their stay, Perurena said the IOC was unconcerned by “white elephants” such as the Caja Mágica, built for Madrid’s failed 2012 bid and now in use for essentially only one week a year for the Madrid Masters tennis tournament.
In Perurena and Casado’s view, the heavy Spanish representation on the IOC “without a doubt” favors Madrid’s bid.
Madrid Mayor Ana Botella said the Games are in the city’s DNA, as “for 15 years public policy has been geared toward this goal.” Madrid also bid for the 2016 Games but lost out to Rio de Janeiro. Tokyo remains the bookmakers’ favorite for 2020.