IOC Heads to Madrid

Committee returns to Madrid after having evaluated for 2012 Games, too

Monday, May 4, 2009  |  Updated 1:18 PM CDT
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Members of the International Olympic Committee arrived in Madrid today to evaluate the city's bid to host the 2016 Games.

The mayor met with the 13 IOC members as they launched a five-day tour that followed visits to bid rivals Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Chicago.

Smiling children with drawings of IOC members also welcomed the commissioners, including Nawal el Moutawakel, chairwoman of the evaluation panel.
  
The IOC team will inspect venues Wednesday and Thursday aboard hybrid buses, part of the Spanish capital's promise to hold a green Olympics. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia will send off the committee on Friday after a royal lunch.

Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said he would not show the committee "pie in the sky or stage props. We're going to show them our real city, our real booming, dynamic, thriving city, which loves sports and wants to organize the games."

The mayor said the city has already constructed 77 percent of its Olympic facilities.

The welcome included a 430,556 square-foot version of Madrid's logo, a colorful giant hand painted with eco-friendly paint that represents the warmth of a hearty welcome from the people of Madrid.

This is the second time the IOC has evaluated Madrid, which also bid for the 2012 Games, ultimately awarded to London.
  
More hands with the Olympic colors and Madrid's theme -- "Tengo una Corazonada," which translates as "I feel it in my bones" --
cover the city, from the net separating fans from the field in Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium, to the home pages of several
Madrid newspaper Web sites.

"Madrid is prepared for this visit and above all is prepared to celebrate the Olympic Games in 2016," Ruiz-Gallardon said.

The full IOC will vote to select the host city in Copenhagen on Oct. 2.

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