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  • Madrid Prepares Welcome for Olympic Bid Inspectors


    (ATR) Banners are hung and strikes are averted as the IOC Evaluation Commission for the 2020 Olympics heads to Madrid.

    The 14-member group travels to the Spanish capital this weekend to begin a four-day inspection of the city’s third consecutive Olympic bid.

    Last week the IOC panel was in Tokyo; the final week of March the group goes to the third 2020 bidder, Istanbul.

    With 26 percent unemployment in Spain it should come as no surprise to the IOC that labor unrest could be a part of the visit. A strike by transport workers next week appears to have been averted for now. Workers had planned a protest march to the planned Olympic stadium, just before the IOC visits the venue.

    Another strike has been called off after Iberia Airlines workers came to terms with the company. Iberia was prepared to cancel 1000+ flights next week if the strike had taken place.

    Prime minister Mariano Rajoy will be on hand to welcome the commission Monday morning at the opening session along with Mayor Ana Botella. The three IOC members from Spain will make presentations. Juan Antonio Samaranch will speak about finance while sport will be addressed triathlon federation president Marisol Casado and canoe federation chief Jose Perurena.

    As will be the case in each of the three cities the IOC visits, the commission will have a look at venues listed in the bid file and  receive closed-door briefings on the 14 themes of the file.

    Wednesday evening, Queen Sofia and Princess Letizia will host the IOC at the single formal event that the bid city is able to mount for the commission. Heir to the throne Prince Felipe will attend a closing session with the commission Thursday.

    The visit ends that afternoon with a press conference from commission chair Craig Reedie and one from Madrid 2020.

    Reported by Ed Hula

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