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How do they do it? PDF
Sunday, 25 July 2010 00:00

How do the Spanish do it?  They can’t stop winning at sport! Not content with snaffling the Football World Cup, the Wimbledon Men’s Singles title, the European Basketball Championship, Moto GP and being the current Davis Cup holders, today they added two more victories to their ever-growing list of sporting achievements.

Yes, this afternoon Fernando Alonso won the Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring in Germany and Alberto Contador secured victory in the Tour de France in Paris. 

What has happened to Spain?  What has brought about their rapid progress in a wide range of sports?  Before the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, they were a bit of a laughing stock when it came to running, jumping, swimming, throwing and team sports, for they had only ever won four gold medals since the modern Olympics began.96 years previously.  Not wishing to be humiliated at home, the Spanish government invested huge sums of money in sport in the run-up to the 1992 Games, $160 million to be exact.  A further $120 million came from 23 corporations. The money was doled out in parcels ranging from $10,000 to $75,000 a year to hundreds of Spanish athletes according to their medal potential.   And what happened?  They won 13 golds and nine further medals!

1992 was the year Spain grew up in sporting terms.  They liked the feeling of winning and have continued to invest in sport since then.  We can now see the results. 

© Paul Whitelock

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For a brilliant article about Spain's success in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics written at the time in the USA's Sports Illustrated click Proving Their Mettle