Madrid Olympic bid ill-advised

MADRID - Madrid didn't heed Juan Antonio Samaranch's advice when it came to entering the race for the 2016 Olympics, the former International Olympic Committee president said.

MADRID - Madrid didn't heed Juan Antonio Samaranch's advice when it came to entering the race for the 2016 Olympics, the former International Olympic Committee president said.

Samaranch, who presided over the Olympic body from 1980 until 2001, said Madrid was handicapped by an impressive Rio de Janeiro bid and by the Games going to London in 2012.

"Madrid worked very well but Rio did better. They had everything," Samaranch told German agency DPA yesterday.

"What hurt Madrid the most was the repeat of the continent and, secondly, a lot of Europeans didn't vote for Madrid because they were already thinking about presenting in '20 or '24."

The Italian Olympic Committee has already said that it will present Rome or Venice as a candidate city in 2020. Rio beat Madrid for the right to host the Summer Games in the final vote in Copenhagen on Friday. Tokyo and Chicago went out in previous rounds.

"I gave my opinion at the time but when the majority wanted to go for it in '16, all I could do was help as much as I could," said the 89-year-old Samaranch.

Samaranch didn't give an answer when asked if he would back a Madrid bid for 2020 because "I won't be in this world". Samaranch asked IOC voters to consider his age and award Madrid the Games during their presentation.

"I planned to ask this favour of my friends," he said when asked if it was an impromptu wish. - Sapa-AP

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