Becoming the venue of Summer Olympics is commonly seen as synonym of prestige. Every four years several cities try to host the main sportive event around the world. Nonetheless, in each country many voices claim against what these kind of projects mean: a huge amount of money invested, without any warranties of recovering it. Then, is it really a good idea to become the venue of Summer Olympics? Madrid is, together with Tokyo and Istanbul, one of the finalist candidates of the 2020th event. This is not the first time this city bids; in 1972, 2012 and 2016 it lost, being Munich, London and Rio de Janeiro, respectively, the winners. However, the Spanish Olympic Committee and Madrid’s Council did not throw in the towel and tried again. Madrid is currently, to a certain extent, very likely to be the winner, but the final voting (sometimes quite surprising!) has yet to be celebrated.
If Madrid is successful, this would be the second Summer Olympics in Spain. The first ones were held in Barcelona in 1992: they were claimed to be the best ones so far (and therefore economically profitable). When Summer Olympics are organized properly, they can benefit the country’s economy and create new (temporary) jobs; taking into account the current international crisis, it would be a great point for Spain. Nevertheless, and at least recently, most of these kind of events have finally failed (we shouldn’t forget Atlanta 1996 or Athens 2004).
Which are the keys for developing Summer Olympics in a correct way? Obviously, a magic formula does not exist, but some aspects can be pointed out as compulsory: avoiding an excessive ostentation and, above all, corruption; or also establishing not very expensive ticket prices, with the aim of bringing everyone to the stadiums. Economical expenditure is usually the most important factor. Many cities finally had to renounce to their bids because of the impossibility of confronting those huge costs, as for instance did Rome last year (Monti’s decision was very supported).
Several surveys have been made in Madrid, asking for the opinion of people about Madrid’s bid. It is not surprising that the majority think that it is a great opportunity, but this is not a shared view by everybody in the country. And there are several convincing arguments. Foremost, Madrid spent a lot of money on the last two bids for the Summer Olympics. Furthermore, throughout the last decade the City Council invested huge quantities for the construction of a great network of tunnels in order to improve the chaotic traffic suffered in the city. It was a good decision, but it increased an already enormous debt.
With regard to the infrastructures, currently 27 of the 36 required venues are already built. This means that it would be necessary to spend much more, especially in the main stadium, commonly known as La Peineta, where athletic sports would be celebrated.
Maybe Madrid should not be candidate any longer. It cannot be denied that it would be a historical event for this city (one of the few Western capitals that has never held the Olympics), increasing its fame all over the world. Also, many people really believe that it could be successful. Nonetheless, there are too many risks, and the economic problems are now more important than Summer Olympics: education, health service or unemployment are some aspects in which government should focus in the first place. But now it is too later to back down. On September 7th, the winning bid will be announced. If Madrid loses again, it would be surely the last attempt (for some time); and if the resolution is satisfactory, let’s hope the work is done in the most responsible way.