The optics of asking to host the Olympics at the same time you're asking for a $37 billion bailout could be better, but Madrid -- a candidate city for the 2020 games -- insists it's doable, reports the Wall Street Journal:
The city's bid committee is marketing the proposal as a shoestring Olympics—a model designed to show how to organize the event on a tight budget. Madrid's initial application says 78% of the sports venues already exist in the city and only about nine structures need to be built.
Its latest plan, due in early 2013, would go even further, slapping a roof on Madrid's emblematic bull ring to deploy it as a temporary basketball court and transforming a stadium for a second-tier soccer team into a field-hockey arena.
In recent years, countries like China, South Africa, Brazil, Ukraine and Poland have used mega sporting events as a well to signal their arrival as major world powers. But Madrid's bid, against fellow finalists Istanbul and Tokyo, appears as more of a way of signalling Spain's continued relevance.
Organizers of the bid also hope the project could take a bite out of the country's 52 percent youth unemployment. It may do that in the short term, but the Olympics aren't generally the best way to spur sustainable economic growth. Just ask Greece.
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