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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 13:58 GMT
The mood in Madrid
Madrid's Plaza Cibeles
The International Olympic Committee's inspection team have arrived in Madrid to examine the city's plans to host the Games in 2012.

Alejandro Delmas, chief reporter at Madrid sports daily As, sums up the mood in the Spanish capital.


What's the feeling in Madrid about its chances?

There's a feeling that Madrid is in a very good position, and a lot of determination.

The sports press here think it will come down to Paris or Madrid, with London maybe in third position.

London did not start the campaign very well. I think the early issues with the bid leadership, and now the latest thing with Prince Harry (dressing up in a Nazi costume), have damaged its chances.

People in Madrid see Paris as the big rival. If one city is going to capture the imagination all around the world, it's Paris - but of course it can lose.

For me, the London bid is good and Lord Sebastian Coe is doing a very good job, but Paris and Madrid are at a higher level at this point.

How does the rest of Spain feel about the Madrid bid?

A little while ago there was a bit of controversy because the nationalist movement in Catalonia insulted the Madrid bid by saying people should not support it.

Some of the local authorities in Madrid responded by telling the Madrilenos not to buy cava, the Catalan champagne, for Christmas.

With the exception of Catalonia, however, the rest of the country is behind the bid.

Madrid competed with Seville for bidding rights, so there is a bit of feeling there, but they're not going to fight the bid.

To be honest there is just not the same degree of excitement in Spain for the Olympic bid as there is for football.

The real passion is for the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Are people in Madrid enthusiastic about the bid?

Yes, and they won't be perturbed by outside feelings.

The racism at the football match between Spain and England is one example.

Madrid has a strong overall package, with very few weak points
Racism is not a problem exclusive to Spain and the criticism makes Spanish people angry - they see it as foreign intrusion into Spanish problems.

The Madrid bid is building on very solid foundations, with good co-operation between the bid team, local authorities and the national government.

The Crown Prince, the King and the royal family are also supportive.

I saw the reports in England that Queen Elizabeth II had said Paris had some kind of advantage over London. That would not happen in Spain.

What are the strengths of the Madrid bid?

It's a strong overall package, with very few weak points.

Paris will score highly for things like hotels and the Olympic stadium. London, I think, will do well on things like the environment and parks.

Madrid does not have too many outstanding things, but everything is really good - it's a very solid bid.

When the IOC did its first evaluation in May last year, Madrid had the second highest number of points behind Paris.

For me that was the turning point, the time when expectations began to rise.

What's the profile of Madrid's bid leader Feliciano Mayoral?

He was a volleyball player for Real Madrid in the 1970s and, like the bid, he's a solid guy.

He's low-profile, not the sort of person who would let the bid down by doing anything crazy or foolish.

Mayoral has all the support of the local and national government behind him and the Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon has been following the bid every step of the way.

Will Barcelona's hosting of the Games in 1992 help Madrid?

The Barcelona Games were very good, and the memories of Barcelona may help Madrid.

If Spain was able to organise a good Olympics then, people may well think the same can happen in Madrid.

On the other hand, of course, the fact Barcelona hosted so recently may go against Madrid.

What plans does Madrid have for the inspectors?

The bid team is likely to focus on the Olympic stadium and the location of the new hotels. The new Sports Palace will open in March for the European Indoor Athletics Championships.

The King's sister, l'Infante Dona Pilar de Borbon, is an IOC member so she will be with the commission, along with the mayor, government officials and perhaps Crown Prince Felipe.

There will be very strong official support and some of the sporting ambassadors might be involved, like Real Madrid's Raul and five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain.




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