2020 Profiles: Madrid/Rome

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With six cities in the running for the Summer Olympic Games in 2020, namely Baku (Azerbaijan), Doha (Qatar), Istanbul (Turkey), Madrid (Spain), Rome (Italy) and Tokyo (Japan), MEI takes a closer look at two of them – Madrid and Rome.

MadridBackgroundMadrid lies almost exactly at the geographical heart of the Iberian Peninsula. It is situated on an undulating plateau of sand and clay known as the Meseta (derived from the Spanish word mesa, or table) at an altitude of 635m above sea level, making it one of the highest capitals in Europe. Madrid is located on the River Manzanares between the autonomous communities of Castile and Leon and Castile–La Mancha. As the capital city of Spain, seat of government, and residence of the Spanish monarch, Madrid is also the political centre of Spain. Due to its economic output, standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered the major financial centre of the Iberian Peninsula. It hosts the head offices of the vast majority of the major Spanish companies, as well as the headquarters of three of the world's 100 largest companies (TelefÃnica, Repsol–YPF, Banco Santander). Furthermore, Madrid was ranked in drawn 10th place with Hong Kong for the world's most powerful cities, featuring in the top 20 cities for five out of the six categories considered. Whilst Madrid possesses a modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighbourhoods and streets. Madrid is full of green spaces and parkland. In central Madrid, the largest park is Parque del Retiro, spreading out to the north–east of Atocha Railway Station. Madrid has around 500, 000 trees, both in parks and on the streets. Atocha Railway Station is not only the citys first and most central station but also home to a distinctive indoor garden with 4, 000 square meters of tropical plants. Atocha Station has become a hothouse destination in itself for plant lovers, with more than 500 species of plant life and ponds with turtle and goldfish in, as well as shops and cafes. Casa de Campo is an enormous rural parkland to the west of the city, the largest of all Madrids green areas. It is home to a fairground, the Madrid Zoo and an outdoor municipal pool, to enjoy a birds eye view of the park and city take a cable car trip above the tree tops. Madrid is considered to be one of the top European destinations for art museums. Best known is the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising three museums. Pablo Picasso's Guernica hangs in one of them – the Reina Sofia Museum – returning to Spain from New York after more than two decades. Hosting ExperienceMadrid hosted the 1982 FIFA World Cup final and has hosted over 250 sports events in the last 10 years. Historically, the city serves as the last stage of the Vuelta a España cyclist classic in the same way as Paris does in the Tour de France. The city has two major annual road running events – the Madrid Marathon and the San Silvestre Vallecana 10 km run – and tens of thousands of runners take part in these races each yearMadrid hosts the largest Plaza de Toros (bullring) in Spain, Las Ventas, established in 1929. Las Ventas is considered by many to be the world centre of bullfighting and has a seating capacity of almost 25, 000. Madrid's bullfighting season begins in March and ends in October. Bullfights are held every day during the festivities of San Isidro (Madrid's patron saint) from the middle of March to the middle of June, and every Sunday, and public holiday, the rest of the season. Las Ventas also hosts music concerts and other events outside of the bullfighting season. Madrid first set its sights on hosting the 1972 Olympic Games but lost out to Munich. Alberto Ruiz–Gallardon, the Mayor of Madrid, confirmed as early as February 2010 that the city would bid for either the 2020 or 2024 edition of the Olympics, before being officially selected by the Spanish goverment for a 2020 bid in July 2011. Madrid missed out in the tenders for the 2012 and 2016 Games, finishing third behind Paris and victorious London for the 2012 Olympics before being edged out by Rio de Janeiro in the final vote for 2016. Ruiz–Gallardon revealed that the Spanish capitals failed bid to host the 2016 Olympics cost the city nearly é¼38m. é¼16. 8m came from the city budget and the rest from private donations. Former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, who died in April 2010, claimed that he advised Madrid against tabling a bid for the 2016 Olympics. Samaranch, who served as IOC president from 1980 to 2001, said Madrids bid was hampered by the London 2012 Games taking place in Europe, with many of the continents IOC members already thinking about presenting a bid for the Games in 2020 or 2024. Current Facilities and Capabilities for Major Sports EventsMadrid has approximately 40 sports centres in the metropolitan area. The Palacio de Deportes and Madrid Arena are two major sports facilities in Madrid. The Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid (literally Sports Palace of the Community of Madrid) is an indoor sporting arena. Its capacity is 15, 000 people for basketball matches and 14, 000 for handball matches. The former building, which was built in 1960, was destroyed by a fire in 2001. Architects Enrique Hermoso and Paloma Huidobro promised a high–tech style new arena that was built at the same place between 2002 and 2005. The arena hosted two major international basketball events in the first decade of the 21st century. It hosted the knockout stage of EuroBasket 2007, and the following year hosted the Euroleague Final Four. It also Hosted the Final Eight and final stage of the Copa del Rey de Baloncesto 2005–06. Madrid Arena is an indoor arena located at the fairground in the Casa de Campo, just minutes from downtown. Built from the old RockÃdromo, the pavilion has been designed to accommodate sporting events, commercial, cultural and leisure activities. The pavilion is sponsored by the company Telefonica. The arena was built in 2002 and has been the location of the Mutua Madrileña Masters Madrid men's tennis tournament since that year. It has a maximum seating capacity of 12, 000 seats and it is also the home games venue of CB Estudiantes. When configured to host basketball games, its seating capacity is 10, 500. Estadio Santiago BernabÉu is a football stadium in the Chamartán district of Madrid. It opened on 14 December 1947 and is owned by Real Madrid. With a current capacity of 80, 354 spectators, it was named as an UEFA Elite stadium in 2007. El BernabÉu, named after chairman Santiago BernabÉu Yeste, is one of the world's most famous and prestigious football venues. It hosted the European Cup final three times, in 1957, 1969 and 1980, and was scheduled to host the UEFA Champions League 2010 final. The finals for the 1964 European Nations' Cup and the 1982 World Cup were also held at the BernabÉu. RomeBackgroundRome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated municipality, with over 2. 7m residents in 1, 285. 3 km2. The city of Rome is located in the central–western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber river within the Lazio region of Italy. Rome's history spans over two and a half thousand years. It was the capital city of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, which was a major political and cultural influence in the lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea for over 400 years from the 1st Century BC until the 4th Century AD. Since the 2nd Century AD, Rome has been the seat of the Papacy and, after the end of Byzantine domination, in the eighth century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. In 1871 Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and in 1946 that of the Italian Republic. Since 1929 it has also been the site of the Vatican City, an independent city–state presided over by the Pope. Rome has been influential in the world regarding subjects such as architecture, culture, politics, literature, law, philosophy and religion and it is recognised as a centre of the arts and education. Due to this centrality on many levels, and much of the city's past and present power and influence, Rome has been nicknamed Caput Mundi (Latin for Capital of the World) and The Eternal City. The city is also an important centre of pilgrimage in the Christian world (notably for the Roman Catholic Church) and St Peter's Basilica, found in the Holy See, is often called "the greatest of all churches of Christendom". Rome's architectural and archaeological sites, and its rich artistic and historical heritage, contribute to it having many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Its global influence in politics, literature, high culture, the arts, music, religion, education, fashion, cinema and cuisine led it to being considered an Alpha–world city, according to Loughborough University and GaWC in 2008. Rome is also a hub of the cinematic and filming industry; for example, the CinecittÃá Studios, Europe's largest studios, which have seen the filming of several internationally acclaimed movies as well as television programmes, are located in the city. St Peters Basilica in Rome topped the Taj Mahal, Statue of Liberty and Golden Gate Bridge to be crowned second position in the Worlds Favourite Landmark Survey according to a poll of more than 10, 000 travellers from around the world in 2009 conducted by accommodation website Hotels. com. Hosting ExperienceRome staged the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. The Italian capitals Foro Italico sports complex hosted the event in June, with the tournament boasting prize money of $1m. The competition marked the third time that Foro Italico, which is situated next to the 1960 Olympic Stadium, hosted an FIVB World Tour event following an inaugural Open event in 2009. Rome had been favourite to win the bid for the 2004 Olympic games but lost out to Athens. The fact it staged the Games in 1960 may have counted against it, but Rome had easily the best infrastructure of the bidding cities, judging by the evaluation commission's reports. It also has so many world–class facilities that it could virtually stage the Games immediately. Rome was nominated by the Italian National Olympic Committee on 19 May 2010 to bid for the 2020 Games. Italy's capital city was chosen over Venice as the country's contender. Current Facilities and Capabilities for Major Sports EventsRome has a proven record of staging large events, such as the FIFA World Cup, the world athletics championships and the world swimming championships in previous years. Stadio Olimpico is the home of both AS Roma and SS Lazio football clubs. It was built in 1952 and has a capacity of 72, 700 and is an UEFA Elite Stadium. It was the site of the 1960 Summer Olympics. Nearby is the Stadio dei Marmi, or marble stadium, which was built in 1932 and designed by Enrico Del Debbio. It boasts enormous tiers topped by 60 white marble statues that were gifts from Italian cities in commemoration of 60 athletes. Stadio Flaminio is the home stadium for the Italy national rugby union team. It is 3 km northwest of Rome's city centre and 300 metres away from the Parco di Villa Glori. With a capacity of only 24, 973 it is the smallest of the Six Nations stadia. It is no longer considered big enough for the Italian national team and there are rumours that the team will be moving to Genoa. Another venue is Palalottomatica, with a capacity of 16, 350.

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