Madrid Games worth billions to Spain: Samaranch

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 20 2013 02:42 PM | Updated as of Mar 20 2013 10:42 PM

MADRID - Hosting the 2020 Olympic Games in Madrid would provide a 3.87-billion euro ($5.0-billion) boost to the Spanish economy and generate 83,000 full-time jobs, Madrid bid organizers said Tuesday.

"Organising the Games would also generate a positive impact on citizens' welfare estimated at over 800 million dollars," added Juan Antonio Samaranch, a member of Madrid's bid committee on the second day of an inspection visit by the International Olympic Committee's evaluation commission.

With 28 of the 35 proposed venues already completed, the cost of building and refurbishing venues for the Games would amount to around 1.5 billion euros, far lower than the price tag for the London 2012 Olympics and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, said Samaranch.

"The London Games were based on the concept of the reconstruction of the East End. That is great for them. But Madrid's bid is very different. The investment has already been made, now is the time for it to bear fruit," he told reporters after addressing the evaluation commission.

Madrid is bidding for a third straight time after losing to London for the 2012 Olympics and Rio de Janeiro for 2016.

Spanish officials are hoping for a repeat of Barcelona's successful staging of the 1992 Olympics, which were a huge boost to the city's stature as a tourist hot spot and helped promote the country internationally.

"The Olympic Games would be good for all of Spain, not just for Madrid," said Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria.

Madrid is competing against Istanbul and Tokyo for the right to host the 2020 Olympics.

The evaluation commission will wrap up its' inspection of Madrid's candidacy on Thursday. It has already visited Tokyo and will travel to Istanbul next week.

Once all three candidate cities have been evaluated by the committee, a report will be published for IOC members in July with a final decision to be taken on which city will host the games to be taken on September 7 in Buenos Aires.

Spain is weathering a double-dip recession, still struggling to recover from a 2008 property crash, which has sent the unemployment rate soaring to a record 26 percent.

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