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Madrid Hopes Frugal Olympic Bid Will Win Over IOC

MADRID (AP) â¿¿ With Spain mired in recession and buckling under deep austerity cuts, Madrid faces the tough task of convincing the IOC it has the resources to host the 2020 Olympics.

The IOC's evaluation commission will be in the Spanish capital next week to examine venues, finances, safety and other aspects deemed critical to securing the multibillion-dollar event.

Alejandro Blanco, president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, said the key is to show that Madrid's spendthrift approach is better suited for the games than that of fellow finalists Istanbul and Tokyo.

"The games can and should be organized under a 'smart' concept of optimizing resources," Blanco told Spanish sports daily AS. "The major investment is already done and the remainder can be recovered easily through good organization.

"The important thing to tell the world is that the Olympics can be held in a dignified manner without throwing money away."

The bid committee says that 28 of the 35 venues are already built, and that its budget to finish preparations is $1.9 billion, plus an additional $192 million for security.

"No other bid can beat ours as far as venues and their proximity to one other," Blanco said. "But we also have to underscore our cost controls. The adjustment of our budget to the present circumstances of the world is what was needed."

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will greet the 14-member panel Monday, with Crown Prince Felipe providing closing remarks in support of Madrid on Thursday.

The commission already has visited Tokyo and will head to Istanbul from March 24-27. Its report will help the 100-plus IOC members select the host city by secret ballot Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Madrid is bidding for a third straight time after losing to London for the 2012 Olympics and Rio de Janeiro for 2016.

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