Barcelona prepares 2022 Olympic bid following Madrid loss
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Less than one day after Madrid lost in its bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, Barcelona Mayor Xavier Trias said the city is prepared to present a bid for the 2022 Winter Games.
"We have the dossier ready,'' Trias told Catalan television Sunday. "We need to speak with the Spanish Olympic Committee to see if they are ready to go forward with this venture.''
Madrid failed in its third straight try to win the right to host the Summer Games on Saturday when the International Olympic Committee chose Tokyo over the Spanish capital and Istanbul.
Barcelona is planning to present a "Barcelona-Pyrenees'' bid with the nearby mountains as an alpine venue. Barcelona's previous mayor, Jordi Hereu, announced plans to bid for the 2022 Games in 2010, before Madrid announced its most recent bid for the Summer Games.
Trias had said earlier this year that he would launch Barcelona's winter bid if Madrid lost. He had also given his public support to Madrid in its attempt to host the world's largest sporting event.
Barcelona held the 1992 Summer Games and used the event to remodel the city's sea front and invest heavily in transportation and other improvements. Thanks to the success of the games, Barcelona was transformed from a postindustrial town into one of Europe's leading tourist destinations.
Barcelona's plan for a bid received the backing of the regional Catalan government.
"The Catalan government will be fully behind the bid if it ends up being formalized,'' said Santi Vila, Catalonia's head of sustainability and territorial policy.
Vila said that Barcelona was capable of hosting the event despite having similar economic problems that hurt Madrid's chances.
"We already have a large part of the infrastructures in place,'' Vila said. "And we have the experience of Barcelona hosting the world swimming championships this summer that showed you don't have to spend a lot of money. The transport connection between Barcelona and Puigcerda (in the Pyrenees) needs to be improved and this would provide the sense of urgency to do so.''
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