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The King and the IOC President also had a bilateral meeting where they were joined by IOC Vice-President Juan Antonio Samaranch and Alejandro Blanco, the President of the NOC of Spain. The King and the IOC President discussed the legacy of the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992, the organisation of forthcoming international sports events in Spain and other topics of mutual interest.
The anniversary celebrations, which were attended by the highest Spanish and Catalan authorities, started with a TV event at the Centre d’Alt Rendiment Esportiu, a high-performance training centre for Spanish athletes which was opened 1987 in the run-up to the Games.
“We are actually celebrating a double anniversary this year: the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Centre d’Alt Rendiment Esportiu and the 25th anniversary of the Olympic Games Barcelona 1992,” said the IOC President in his televised speech, addressing the 200 invited guests, many of whom were Olympians.
He went on to say: “The magic of the Olympic Games brought the world to Barcelona – and the Olympic Games brought a new Barcelona to the world. The Olympic Games transformed Barcelona. Until the Olympic Games, Barcelona was living with its back turned to the beautiful Mediterranean. The Olympic Games allowed Barcelona to turn around and truly embrace the sea. It also brought many other improvements that the citizens of Barcelona still enjoy today.”
King Felipe VI of Spain, who competed at the Olympic Games in sailing and who was also the flagbearer of the Spanish Olympic Team at the Opening Ceremony, spoke about the Games as “an extraordinary set of events, which hold a special place in our country’s memory, as a precious milestone in our most recent history.”
The official reception in the evening was held in the Palacete Albéniz, the residence of the King of Spain in Barcelona, located just a few metres away from the Olympic Stadium. Many Spanish Olympians who competed in 1992 attended the ceremony. King Felipe stressed in his address that “after the Games, all of Spain was proud of this city. This success for Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain was possible thanks to the commitment and the solidarity effort of all.”
President Bach also stressed the unifying character of the Olympic Games 1992. “With Nelson Mandela attending the Opening Ceremony, there was a clear message of peace and friendship, of unity in diversity, that went from Barcelona to the world,” he told the audience, highlighting the unifying motto of the Games in Catalan, “Amics per sempre”, as well as in Spanish, “Amigos para Siempre”.