Madrid Tells IOC "The Pieces Are All Here" - NBC Chicago

Madrid Tells IOC "The Pieces Are All Here"

City welcomes inspectors for fourth and final visit



    The Olympic's 2012 runner-up, Madrid, is making its pitch this week to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, telling an International Olympic Committee Evaluation Commission, "The pieces are all here."

    The IOC evaluators have already visited Chicago, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro.  They will make a recommendation to the IOC at large, and a formal vote on a host city will be taken in October.

    In a colorful room with wide facing tables, Madrid began its pitch today with a 12 year old girl named Monica who told the IOC her personal dream is to participate in the 2016 Games.  "If I were not good enough to play," she said, "I would be a volunteer, because I am certain of how much I want to take part in the Olympic Games in Madrid."

    Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon told Commission members, "Madrid has Olympism in its DNA, not just forward-looking, but by reflecting the will of a whole society wishing to be Olympic."  Ruiz-Gallardon said Madrid could "Offer a Games that is not just brilliant and efficient, but close together, and with a soul."

    That "close-together" feature is a big one, and a selling point stressed by all four candidate cities.  Madrid's presenters told the IOC in today's sessions that all of their competition sites would be within a 20 kilometer radius (12.4 miles) around the Olympic Village, with six less than a kilometer away.  They said 80% of the athletes would live less than 10 minutes from their competition venues.

    The Madrid Committee said 77% of their venues are already in place, or underway, and that only six permanent venues, and two temporary ones still need to be built.

    Currently, what would  become the Olympic Stadium, the Aquatic Center, and a second stadium in Cordoba are under construction.  A BMX and Basketball Pavilion are in the planning stages.  Madrid officials say those venues will be completed even if Madrid is not chosen.

    The city's Olympic planners told the IOC today they want to stage "Happy Green Games", with all construction using renewable energy.  They promised an airport journey time of 20 minutes from the city centre, and suggested that bicycles would most likely become the most used form of transport in Madrid.

    Rio has made a strong case that the time is ripe for the Games to be staged in South America for the first time ever.  But Madrid suggested their region is the logical choice, "coming after Asian Games in Beijing, and the English-speaking Games of London 2012."

    During the 2012 process, Madrid made a strong case, actually leading the vote in the second round.  But London surged ahead on the third ballot, when Madrid dropped to third and was eliminated with 31 votes, two behind Paris.

    During the final vote, a fourth poll of the voting IOC members, London won with 54 votes, while Paris drew 50.