'Barcelona is Spain's only Olympics worthy city'

George Mills
George Mills - [email protected]
'Barcelona is Spain's only Olympics worthy city'
A diver trains at Barcelona's Bernat Picornell swimming pool with the Sagrada Família Cathedral in the background. Photo: Francois Xavier Marit/AFP

The mayor of Barcelona has stirred up the rivalry between Madrid and the Catalan capital by saying his city is the only one in Spain that can compete with "spectacular" Istanbul and Tokyo.


The comments from Barcelona mayor Xavier Trías came after Madrid saw its hopes to host the 2020 Olympics dashed in dramatic fashion on Saturday.

An International Olympic Committee vote saw Madrid come third behind the rival Turkish and Japanese candidates, with Tokyo the eventual choice to hold the event.

"Brand Barcelona is more powerful than Istanbul and almost as powerful as Tokyo," Trías told Catalan radio station RAC1.

The mayor of Spain's most popular city among foreign tourists also flagged the idea of Barcelona hosting the Winter Olympics in 2022, 2026 or 2030.

But Trías also said the city would be in no rush to announce its candidacy because "it doesn't make sense to present an Olympics bid just to make a fool of oneself".

"Winning an Olympics bid is difficult," said Barcelona's mayor.

"The diplomacy of the Olympics works differently." 

The city boss stressed he would have been in favour of a Madrid Olympics: "It's in our interests. This is not football. I always want Madrid to lose in football. It makes me happy when they lose (at football)."

Trías also mentioned the "poor English" of some of Madrid's Olympic bid representatives — most likely a reference to Madrid Mayor Ana Botella's widely mocked speech to the International Olympic Committee.

"I speak English badly and I pronounce it badly, but I try my best, and I can and do make speeches in English," Trías said of his own abilities.


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