The moment has come when Madrid will learn whether it has been chosen to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2020. On Saturday night in Buenos Aires, the Spanish capital will either suffer its third consecutive defeat or walk away with a triumph it really deserves. This is the most promising bid Madrid has presented when compared to the rival projects of Tokyo and Istanbul. Some 80 percent of the infrastructure necessary to accommodate the games has already been built, while Madrid enjoys the greatest public support of the three candidates.
Madrid’s bid is very solid. Unlike Tokyo, it has never hosted the Olympics; it has good transportation; and its aspirations embody the desire of Spaniards to overcome the serious crisis that has gripped the country with a coherent and buoyant project. In hosting the Games, the city would demonstrate with facts its ability to make virtue out of a necessity.
Madrid is the most indebted city hall in Spain in part due to the spectacular and controversial development of its infrastructure with a view to hosting this global event. It is unlikely that the expected recovery of the economy will come to its rescue anytime soon. However, financial contributions from the central government and the Madrid regional administration would provide a vital fillip for the city should it be chosen.
It would be naive to believe that hosting the Olympic Games would generate hundreds of thousands of jobs and radically change the image of the country. But being given the chance to hold them and — what is more important — to make good use of this opportunity, would generate economic returns and would have a very positive psychological impact that would extend itself to the country as a whole.
For its part, Madrid would be able to revitalize areas of the city that have been marginalized and help it recover that festive identity that marked it during the height of the restoration of democracy when Enrique Tierno Galván was mayor. Bringing the public fully on board with the project is one of the tasks still pending in Madrid’s candidature.
Vienna and Rome declined to host the Games out of reasons of austerity. Madrid has taken note of this, presenting a balanced, sober and efficient project. This is another of the virtues of Madrid’s bid that the members of the International Olympic Committee could view favorably.