He has been in charge of the Spanish Olympic Committee for 17 years and has just been re-elected for a new term: “The federations asked me to continue”
Consensus is a difficult word for sports leaders. In Spain, it is much more: a chimera. Alejandro Blanco (Orense, 1950), on the other hand, does not give up his efforts to search for it, in the face of the fratricidal existence that is often observed in the environment from which it comes, the federative sport. Perhaps that is why he continues in the place he was planning to leave, 17 years later. It is the time that he has been in charge of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) and where he has just been re-elected by unsuspected majorities in other areas, including his own. “The presidents of the federations asked me to continue. When 100% of the Olympic federations and 95% of the non-Olympic federations support you, I couldn’t say no and I didn’t want to say no, ”he says. An uncertain 2022 awaits him due to the rise of Ómicron, a short cycle until Paris 2024, with the background noise of football, and two objectives: surpass the 22 medals of Barcelona’92 and heal wounds between Spain and Catalonia with a Winter Games shared. Mission impossible without consensus.
«I see it very difficult for the 13 golds of Barcelona to be repeated, for now, but the 22 medals we are in a position to achieve if the necessary circumstances arise, and that is that you do not have injuries and some of those fourth or fifth places that we had in Tokyo they become podiums, ”explains Blanco. In the Japanese capital there were 17, with casualties such as those of Rafa Nadal and Carolina Marín, in addition to 42 diplomas. “Almost all of them were achieved,” he continues, “by very young people, a fact that makes us optimistic for Paris.”
The Barcelona-Pyrenees candidacy
The Spanish leader who believes that, in the worst circumstances, Spain sustained itself because it has consolidated its position in the medal table, something for which it feared in past editions, due to the declines of the ADO Program. “Maintaining it has been essential. You have to fight it, ”he says. Now, however, a large part of their energies are dedicated to a project that goes beyond sports, the Barcelona-Pyrenees candidacy for the 2030 Winter Games. process, is a priority of Pedro Sánchez y Blanco, a trusted person of Thomas Bach, is your man. The venue election system has changed. It is no longer decided by the uncontrollable and heterogeneous Assembly of the IOC, but by an ad hoc Commission, led by its Executive. That is, the president.
The situation thus makes Blanco a fundamental piece. Even in the tough times of process, did not stop lubricating his relations in Catalonia, from Carles Puigdemont, Quim Roast Y Pere Aragonés a Josep Maria Bartomeu. “I have met with businessmen, mayors, unions, sports leaders, as well as with the presidents of the autonomous communities. It is an inclusive project, an Olympic bridge for Catalonia and Spain at a difficult time, and an opportunity to energize a territory. The Pyrenees have never had a Games “, says Blanco, who has had to show his more negotiating profile to overcome differences. A few months ago, he had to go with Pedro Sánchez and the minister Miguel Iceta to see Javier Lambán, Aragonese president, suspicious of the requests of his Catalan counterpart.
“There is no time to waste in wars”
The IOC must decide in 2023, a year before Paris. If he opted for Barcelona-Pyrenees, he would somehow make up for Madrid’s failed attempts, one of Blanco’s thorns. “The capital must now invest in sport, become a benchmark to feed its dream, but 2036 is a long way off and sport and its organizations are changing very fast. You have to be cautious, “he says. It refers to the attempt of the Super League, the Davis Cup of Piqué and other models that are privatizing the sport.
“Spanish football must be very attentive to these movements and unite, instead of continuing to waste time in wars,” says Blanco, who, on occasion, has been asked to act as a mediator. Javier Tebas Y Angel Villar, and now Luis rubiales, to which a good relationship joins. That war has splashed and pitted secretaries of state in the past. Not everything was for football, but for Blanco’s conception that the COE should not act only every four years. The lines of the competitions are very fine. “The leaders of the Federation and the League are smart to know that they will have to sit down, but really, not like Viana,” he says. If not – it ends – the consequences will be paid by Spanish sport as a whole ».
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