BUENOS AIRES - The Madrid delegation were left reeling on Saturday by the shock of their early elimination as host for the 2020 summer Olympics and defended their bid presentation as "the best" of the candidate cities.
There was a deathly hush in the bar where officials gathered to await the result of the International Olympic Committee's head-to-head vote that eliminated the Spanish capital following a first-round tie with Istanbul.
The third bidder, Tokyo, was later awarded the Games. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, under fire for a severe recession in Spain and 25 per cent unemployment, stopped short of pledging another Olympic bid after three successive failures, but said the government would "offer even more support if necessary to Spanish sport."
"Our country will carry on because it has shown a capacity to overcome difficult odds," he told a news conference. "Now what we can do is continue to look ahead because Spain is a top level sports power and there are many sports in which we have triumphed.
"I think Madrid is a city that was ready. A great effort was made but in life you win sometimes and lose others." Prince Felipe, whose impressive speech to close Madrid's presentation had boosted the delegation's confidence, said: "The king and queen shared in our initial hopes and sadness at the result.
"Im grateful for the magnificent job Madrid did. "With a significant proportion of the sporting infrastructure already built and in place, there is, still, a huge positive impact to be acknowledged," Felipe, the bid's honorary president, said.
"Our efforts over the past 12 years will not be wasted, in that the people and youth of Madrid will still continue to benefit and enjoy an Olympic legacy from established venues to transport systems, so whilst the race for 2020 is lost, the future of sport in Spain will continue positively."