Spanish shattered after Madrid's Olympic bid fails yet again
There was desolation in Madrid yesterday after the Spanish capital failed for the fourth time to land the Olympic Games.
And with the likes of Paris, Berlin and Rome set to be in the running when the 2024 bid process gets under way, there are serious questions as to whether a country mired in economic crisis can continue to pour millions into candidacies with no guaranteed return.
"It has been a huge blow to not win the 2020 Games," bid president Alejandro Blanco admitted. "Right now is precisely the moment for us to take a break. We need to sit down and think about where we want to go."
Despite their spirited plea that Madrid did have the ability to host an austerity Games based on the fact the vast majority of its proposed venues are already in place, in a time of economic and political uncertainty the Tokyo bid successfully transmitted its claim to be the most reliable bid to the 96 IOC members who were eligible to vote.
"The IOC preferred excess to austerity, although this doesn't excuse the failure of the Spanish lobby," sports daily Marca said in its editorial yesterday.
Yet there were also other areas where Madrid's candidacy was found wanting, particularly on the issue of what the country was doing to clean up its somewhat tarnished image in the light of the Operation Puerto sports doping scandal.
After a four-month court case earlier this year, blood bags seized from the disgraced doctor Eufemiano Fuentes were ordered to be destroyed rather than released and those involved in the doping ring named.
"Those damned blood bags," said Alfredo Relano, the editor of Madrid sports daily AS. "The questions from the Canadian Dick Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and the young Englishman Adam Pengilly, sunk Madrid's bid and rubbed salt into our already seething wounds."
And, as Relano points out, it will be a long time before Spain recovers the trust of the outside world on the topic. "Spanish sport needs to go through a long period in which it shows exemplary conduct in order to rid itself of this image, but for now that image remains."