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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 17:18 GMT
New words for old Spanish anthem
Spanish gold medallists, Iker Martinez and Xavier Fernandez
If only we knew the words... Spanish victors at the Athens Olympics
For more than 30 years, Spain's victorious athletes have had to resort to humming their national anthem.

The lyrics for the "Royal March" which were written in General Franco's era were dropped in 1975 because of their associations with his dictatorship.

But now the Spanish Olympic Committee has announced the results of a competition to find new words.

The anthem was to be revealed by the tenor, Placido Domingo, but the lyrics were leaked to a newspaper on Friday.

'Viva Espana'

The words begin with "Viva Espana" and "Ama a la patria" (love the fatherland).

Already they have attracted criticism, chiefly from left-wing politicians concerned they reflect the nationalism of the Franco regime.

"They stink," was the opinion of Gaspar Llamazares, leader of the small United Left party.

Carmen Calvo, former culture minister in the ruling Socialist government, said: "I just read it and I don't like it at all."

Expert panel

The four verses were selected from 7,000 entries by a panel of six experts including a musicologist, a historian, a composer and an athlete.

Their task was to come up with up-to-date words for a tune that was first played in 1770 during the reign of King Carlos III.

The winner of the competition was Paulino Cubero, an unemployed man from La Mancha.

The Spanish Olympic Committee now hopes to collect half a million signatures before presenting the updated anthem to parliament.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Listen to Spain's national anthem



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