As Madrid comes back into contention for the Olympic Games, Spyros Capralos, President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) expressed hope that the city will bid for the European Games.
Speaking to Spanish news agency EFE following an EOC Executive Committee meeting in Madrid, Capralos said: "What we hope is that one day Spain joins the map as the organizing country of the European Games. I know that there are many cities that have the necessary infrastructure.
"On the path to organizing Olympic Games in the future, the European Games are a good step to then move forward."
His comments came as Madrid re-entered the fray as a potential host of the 2036 Games. Following the city’s securing of Formula One, the President of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso said: "Who knows if it will help us to attract other major events? The Olympics perhaps? We're working on it."
Capralos said: "Spain is one of our most important members. Its Olympic committee is very actively involved and always has a place in our Executive. President Alejandro Blanco is highly respected, not only in Europe, and the general secretary, Victoria Cabezas, makes very valuable contributions. Madrid joins a growing list of candidates to host the 2036 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"The new IOC rules reduce the cost in many aspects, especially in construction. And we want to set a good example for society in terms of sustainability. Having many candidates is good."
Unlike the IOC, the EOC does not have many candidates for its flagship event, but it has a strong candidate for the 2027 European Games in Istanbul, which is also bidding for the 2036 Olympic and Paralympic Games. "We are going to receive here in Madrid a delegation from Turkey, from the municipality of Istanbul, to discuss a candidacy that is very good. We will go to the city soon, before granting them the Games. It makes us very happy that a great country like Turkey wants to organize the Games.
"In today's world it is very difficult to attract candidates to organize multi-sport competitions. But the Poland Games [in 2023] were a great success, with top-level athletes qualifying there for the Paris Olympics. And federations, Olympic committees and athletes have already realized its importance."
The EOC and Istanbul are in discussions with the federations of gymnastics and swimming about their possible inclusion in the 2027 program. "Gymnastics and swimming are, of course, big competitions and both European federations want to be at the Games. I am sure that artistic and rhythmic gymnastics will return to the programme and we are discussing an under-23 swimming competition," said Capralos.
"We do not want to insist on sports that force organizers to build new venues. At most, to reform them at a lower cost. This way we will attract more cities in the future."