After Valencia’s successful bid to host the America’s Cup, Madrid is holding its breath hoping for a chance to welcome the 2012 Olympic Games to the city. Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig, London, Moscow, New York, Paris and Rio de Janeiro are also candidates. One of the most important criteria being considered by the International Olympic Committee in their selection of the ideal site for the 2012 games is the use of ecological building techniques – the games should not damage the environment and this means the game bid organisers need to be in constant communication with ecological groups to make sure they are making the best choices.
One example of this is the choice of Aranjuez as the site of rowing and canoeing events for the Olympics instead of Rivas-Vaciamadrid. Ecologists were against holding the trials in the river because of possible environmental impact on the area, especially the El Porcal marshes where the games organisers were planning to build a canal. The Madrid 2012 office has come up with this solution to the request of the ecologists to organise sustainable games.
The involvement of green groups with the cities bidding to host the 2012 Olympics is a key factor for the International Olympic Committee. When choosing the short list, the evaluation committees have taken these environmental projects into account such as this.
Madrid 2012 has taken the first steps to meet agreements with these groups. The Olympic office has listened to the green group’s arguments that building a rowing and canoeing canal on the Rivas-Vaciamadrid was not such a good option as transferring the amount to Aranjuez. In its favour there is an underground train station giving acess to the area, but the canal in would have put local wildlife in danger such the royal goose, imperial goose, marsh harrier and kingfisher, among other species.
The president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, praised Madrid’s 2012 Olympic candidature during his visit to the capital of Spain. The most high-powered chief executive of COI studied Madrid’s Olympic project as well as the scale models of the main sports facilities of the city such as Madrid’s recently-renovated stadium, and the Aquatic Sports Centre. After the encounter, the Dutch ruler remarked that Madrid’s Olympic candidature is very well structured. He also described the scheme of the Spanish capital as “compact, very well designed and studied thoroughly”.
Jacques Rodge also highlighted both how wise the public transport initiative is -trying to reduce at maximum the use of private cars- and the fact that Madrid has already built the majority of facilities which are needed to host the Games. In addition, Rogge has underlined that Madrid 2012 could leave a significant legacy for the city, which is highly important for COI. The reason is blatant: “we do not want infrastructures too big since later on we are not going to take advantage of them, which would make no sense”. The president of COI stated that Madrid has taken this into account before beginning to construct them. Likewise, the Dutch chief executive put a special emphasis on the vast organsational experience the Spanish sport has displayed throughout years.
The mayor of Madrid has promised that all the buildings that are put up for the games will be designed in accordance with the most exacting environmental criteria. They will have to have EMAS certification, which means minimum consumption and minimum impact. These same sustainable criteria will be applied to the choice of materials used, all of which will meet the most stringent environmental requirements, especially wood, which will have to be certified as from renewable sources.