Madrid: The people of Madrid heaved a collective sigh of disappointment today at the city’s second successive failure to win the Olympics.
Thousands of ‘Madrilenos’ of all ages gathered in a fiesta atmosphere in the Plaza de Oriente near the royal palace to watch the results relayed from Copenhagen on giant video screens.
The crowd cheered and danced when odds-on favourites Chicago went out in the first round, and then when Tokyo was eliminated in the second.
But the mood quickly turned sombre when International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge announced Rio de Janeiro as the site of the 2016 Games.
“We must congratulate Rio, and also the work that we Spaniards have done, it was excellent. It’s a disappointment for us,” Spain’s Queen Sofia told Spanish public television from Copenhagen.
It was the second time in four years that Madrid had failed to win the Olympics, after losing out to London in its bid for the 2012 Games.
The Spanish capital was an outsider to get the nod Friday, given the unspoken rule that the host cities are rotated between continents.
But the government and city authorities had remained hopeful, with popular support for the bid throughout Spain higher than any of the others candidate cities and with 77 per cent of its facilities already built or under construction.