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Q&a With Alberto Ruiz-gallardon


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Here you have the translation of the interview to Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, mayor of Madrid.

Original Interview in Spanish

"We got through a very severe selection"

During the last elections in the United States, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said his political preference was Barack Obama, but hee personally prefered John McCain. Many thought that this was another of his convoluted sentences, but was simple. If Obama won, Chicago became a formidable rival to Madrid 2016. A year later, the mayor of Madrid and Obama will sit close to each other in the main hall of the Bella Center in Copenhagen tomorrow to defend the Olympic projects in their hometowns. In the gossip of the Marriott hotel where IOC members are, the wooden spoon is for Tokyo. But nobody trusts anybody, and the mayor rushes every minute to convince the commissioners.

Question. Back stage four years ago. What has changed?

Madrid have submitted a very professional application. There is no lost detail. I met IOC members that talked to me about each of the facilities we have. The project is very attractive, compact and safe. Had a management audit of our bid would be a very high value and would rank the highest of all.

What has improved?

A project that adds more compact and effort has been done so far. Deficiencies are resolved as accommodation, which generated uncertainty in the IOC.

The Obama effect has pushed Chicago in the betting. Will it have consequences?

We don't make such an estimated speculation. We try to talk and convince the maximum number of IOC members. Obama's presence demonstrates the importance of the Games to a city. And that's what the candidates have received. His presence gives the relevance of the Olympic movement. That said, I again say that the ability of conviction that our bid will be headed by the King is an asset that will not be overshadowed by the U.S. President.

You do not want to greet Obama, like everyone?

What I want is that Madrid is elected host city. Right now my priority is not making any political relationship unrelated to the nomination.

What explains the enthusiasm that has attracted the average application of Rio?

There was not average. Many tried and only four cities shortlisted. The four are in a position to host the Games. No one may surprise if any of the four win.

Does the latest report was more severe with Madrid than with the rest?

Absolutely not. Strengthened the candidacy of Madrid. Our observations, unlike those of other candidates, were likely to be corrected before reaching Copenhagen. And that's what did the government of Spain with the anti-doping legislation. It has given us the opportunity to take into consideration how important the IOC opinion is that the Spanish authorities have gone so far as to modify a decree law. We have turned the problem into an opportunity. Spain is a country that wants the Olympics so when they make a dissenting report, we modify our legislation.

Doesn't it seem crazy that a non-democratic or legal legitimacy in Spain is able to modify a law passed by a council of ministers?

The decree law has modified the same democratic body that approved it. The reasons are a response to different criteria, and one is the IOC. And it is perfectly deserving a government that takes this into account. In a few years the criteria of the World Anti-Doping Agency shall be those taken into consideration for those who want to organize sports competitions.

What has been the toughest time in three years?

Physical exertion has meant being at all times when the IOC allowed us to speak to committee members. I am the only one of four mayors who has not missed any presentation on five continents. And that requires physical exertion and important agenda. It's tough. But also rewarding.

How many countries has been?

I've been round the world several times.

Which is the sweetest moment of these three years?

On Friday at 18:30, when we say we will organize the Games.

Can you talk about second and third voting agreements?

A. No. It would be impossible. We ask the vote for Madrid. But when a city is out of the ballot, none can ask their voters to vote to another.

And ask for a vote for yourself in second vote?

Indeed. From conversations with members of the IOC, there are three possible answers. The one who says yes, the one that remains silent, and those who listen and then say they have other preferences. In such cases, we request that if their commitment is no longer in the race, they should vote for us. And many have said yes.

When did you decide to nominate for 2016?

After a year from Singapore. I was wondering if due to the unwritten rule of rotation applied in recent decades, would be impossible to host the Games in 2016. I asked for an interview with Jacques Rogge, who invited me to dinner at Lausanne. I asked and he said no: the IOC would choose the city with the best bid. That day I decided to begin talks with the government of Spain.

Taking into account the value of urban and social regeneration that is supposed to the Games and that Madrid is already 80% of its infrastructure made or proposed, why the games need more than Rio?

You can ask why every city needs the Olympics or what city is better able to organize them. We establish the suitability of the games for Madrid. And tell the IOC that we are able to organize them. We raised a legacy, not only in physical terms, but in terms of the behavior of the city to bring the Olympic values in the language of the people: respect, perseverance, teamwork ... That legacy is far beyond the new infrastructure.

And in this final environment, can win a vote?

At this point, all the members have decided on the first vote. And I think the vast majority have taken the decision of its second vote.

So after all these contacts, can you rule out Madrid falls in first round?

We can win in the third round, which is obvious to overcome the first and second.

At the political level, you have committed your image and credit for this project. Will there be worthwhile if Madrid loses? Will he have political consequences in your career?

The Madrilean society will vote in May 2011.

Whatever happens will be the candidate for City Council in 2011?

Yes. I have committed my candidacy. And then people will judge me.

What will you do in October 3rd if Madrid wins the Games?

I'd like going to see Lulu which is being played at the Teatro Real. But I get the feeling that the plane would be late and I have to leave it for another time.

What if you lose?

Exactly the same.

Isn't it sad that the union that this project has generated among all governments and parties do not when it comes to the crisis or terrorism?

It gives me great joy to see that in a country struggling to unite wills between those who think differently, is actually able to join all this. There are spaces for projects to join, but it wouldn't be good for Spain that the only thing that linked us was sport.

Are you still confident of victory?

I am sure that we have many chances because it is the best project.

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