Barcelona sets high benchmark for sport
8 March 2012
Barcelona was drenched in spring sunshine for the opening day of the Global Sports Forum yesterday, as delegates from all over the globe arrived in the city. As well as playing host to the conference, the capital of Catalonia also featured heavily in the opening session.
Opening the forum, journalist Alan Abrahamson was the first to remark upon the relevance of Barcelona in this Olympic year. The Barcelona Olympics of 1992, he said, remain the benchmark for the games, even twenty years on. According to Abrahamson, all Olympic organisers since 1992 have had to measure their success against “the summer games that changed everything”.
Kelham Slater, Senior Policy Officer for the Greater London Authority’s Sport Unit, concurred with this view, stating that “Barcelona is very much the inspiration” for the organisation of London 2012.
Also contributing to the Global Sports Forum’s opening session, How sport brings a city to life, was Barcelona’s Mayor of Quality of Life, Equality and Sports, Maite Fandos. She spoke of the importance of the 1992 Olympics for the city, saying that it helped put Barcelona “on the world map”.
The city’s sporting success was also touched upon by Kevin Roberts, Editorial Director of the Sport Business Group. Roberts noted that Barcelona is among a very small group of cities that are defined by sport, and highlighted the importance of FC Barcelona’s global standing for Catalonia. “It really is,” he said, adapting the football club’s motto, “mes que un city”.