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Spanish media turn on Madrid 2016 bid

By Duncan Mackay


August 13 - Marca, Spain's biggest selling newspaper, has claimed that Madrid's bid to follow London and host the 2016 Olympics can only be saved by the intervention of King Carlos.


The Spanish capital's "Olympic dream...runs a greater risk of evaporating with every day that goes by," Marca claimed in a piece last week written by the newspaper's chief editor Eduardo Inda.


Marca, which has a daily circulation of 2.3 million and whose website is visited by more than three subscribers every day, claimed that Rio de Janeiro is the favourite win when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) votes on the Host City at its Session in Copenhagen on October 2.


Madrid is the "the least favourite with Tokyo", Marca wrote.


Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon "is extremely nervous over the news he is getting from the IOC", Marca's chief editor wrote in his story.


But the bid can still be salvaged if King Carlos, a former sailor who competed for Spain at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, takes on a higher-profile role, it said.


"Only the King can manage to make true at the last minute the dream of all Spaniards," claimed Marca, which until now has been a strong supporter of Madrid's bid, which is being run by chief executive Mercedes Coghen (pictured).


Chicago, the other bidder, is hoping that United President Barack Obama will travel to Denmark to back their bid.


Madrid narrowly missed out on staging the 2012 Olympics, being knocked out in the third round during the vote in Singapore on July 6 2005.


But it is widely accepted within Olympic circles that they would have won in the final round if they had faced London.


That is because the IOC members who backed Paris would have transferred their votes to Madrid while it would also have retained the support of those loyal to the former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.


Once Madrid were knocked out Samaranch's group switched their votes to London, which proved to be decisive.


Antonio Fernandez Arimany, the managing director of Madrid's bid, tried to play down fears that the bid would be affected by the Marca article.


He said: "It [the article] was a surprise for us too, but we cannot consider that Marca is against the bid because of a small independent article."

King Carlos, who opened the Olympics the last occasion they were held in Spain, at Barcelona in 1992, is due to head the Madrid delegation in Copenhagen.


Fernandez Arimany said: "The King (pictured) can only contribute positive things to the bid.


"He is our country's top personality at the international level."


There is a precedent for a bid coming back after one of the country's leading newspapers has written it off.


On January 30, 2005, The Observer in Britian ran a front-page article entitled "London's Olympic dream in tatters".


"London has in effect abandoned hope of winning the 2012 Olympic Games, because it is so far behind Paris," claimed the article.


The Observer article claimed that one member of the bid had told them: "'The top brass in the bid are in depression.'


"'A lot of the staff know they aren't going to win.


"'Some are having trouble putting that out of their minds, and focusing.


"'The reality is that they can put in the best bid in the world - and London's bid is very good - but, even if they could wave a magic wand and solve their biggest problems by 6 July, they still wouldn't win.


"'Paris is so strong that it can't be beaten.'"


Less than six months later the IOC voted to award London the 2012 Olympics. 

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