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Potential 2016 Host: Madrid

Over the next week or so I’ll be taking a look at the four finalists for the 2016 Olympics, with some help in analyzing the United States’s potential host. Today’s city however, is Madrid, Spain.

City: Madrid, Spain

Population: 3,093,000

Has City Hosted?: No

Country last hosted: 1992 Summer Games (Barcelona)

Pros: The aforementioned Barcelona games were one of the most successful in the history of the Olympics. Just 8 years after the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, when the future of the games was in doubt, Barcelona cemented the Olympics future. That Olympics both brought together people (Germany competed under one flag for the first time since 1964) and brought new people (a then record 10,563 athletes, and Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia all competed under their own flag for the first time). Also, the torch lighting was the coolest one ever. Madrid would have excellent stadiums for sports such as soccer (Real Madrid is perhaps the largest soccer club in the world) and field hockey, as Spain is a perennial power in that sport.

Cons: Unfortunately, with the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia, 2016 in Madrid would place three games in a row in Europe, which is highly unlikely. Also, the competition venues for the games would take place in two different areas: one would feature just the olympic stadium and aquatic center, and the other would be by the Manzanares (Spanish for “apple orchards”) River and would host most of the rest. And according to the results of Madrid’s bid to get the 2012 games, their transportation infrastructure needs to be updated. And last, but not least, there is the fact that Spain is perceived to be a very racist country, and they certainly haven’t helped themselves with the basketball team’s photos, and Spanish soccer coach Luis Aragones’s comments regarding Thierry Henry.

Chances: I think Spain has a good bid, but ultimately I think they are the weakest of the four cities, but could be kept in the running until very late due to the IOC’s heavy Western European bias.

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