Felipe de Borbón y Grecia, Prince of Asturias, wowed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today, as Madrid presented its latest attempt to win the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
One watching IOC member described him as “the star performer of the day,” as he began his speech by emphasizing that he was taking part in the Madrid 2020 bid not as a ceremonial figure, but as an Olympic athlete in his own right.
“Few events in my life have meant as much to me as representing Spain at the Barcelona Games,” the Prince said. “Though I didn’t win a medal, I came away with something more important than that: an appreciation of the human values on which the Games are founded.”
IOC members lapped it up. His contribution added a touch of dash and glamor to what was a notably serious presentation by a Madrid team that has reverted to Spanish red and yellow after experimenting with olive greens and indigos for the Madrid 2016 bid finale.
The core of the presentation dealt with the economic situation in Spain – a risky strategy, given the many problems still facing the country, particularly high youth unemployment levels.
But, an increasingly polished-looking team of presenters also underlined the merits under present circumstances of an Olympic project in which most of the sporting and non-sporting infrastructure has already been built.
“The promises made in 2012 and 2016 today are realities,” said Juan Antonio Samaranch, a Spanish IOC member and son of the former long-time IOC President. “We already kept the promises made in the previous [Madrid] bids.”
It was left to bid President Alejandro Blanco, who has also noticeably grown in stature as a public performer in recent months, to encapsulate a view that has been gathering momentum in the Olympic Movement just in the past few weeks: namely that a city widely thought until recently to have less chance of winning this time around than in its previous attempts, may at last have got its timing right.
This was, said Blanco, “A realistic bid for realistic times.”
Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee that staged the 2012 London Games. The blog continues to cover issues that are important to the Olympic Movement. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors.