Barcelona mayoral candidates use 1992 Olympic glory to win voters over

Campaign ads use footage and audio from sporting event 30 years on, as some suggest new bid to host Games

Barcelona commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Olympic Games on July 21, 2022 (by Barcelona's local council)
Barcelona commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Olympic Games on July 21, 2022 (by Barcelona's local council) / ACN

Emma Monrós | Barcelona

May 22, 2023 07:36 PM

May 23, 2023 03:07 PM

Some of Barcelona’s residents’ most fond memories are those dating back more than 30 years ago, when the city hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1992.

The event provided the city with economic growth and international recognition as a tourist destination during the 1990s, and the fame has continued ever since with world class-events like the Mobile World Congress, a leading global exhibition on the wireless industry, or other international attractions like the America’s Cup, the oldest international sailing competition, that will take place in 2024.

As the campaign for the local elections enters its final week, mayoral candidates are taking into consideration the international role that Barcelona has to play in the future; and are including that in their own campaigns and electoral promises, referring to past glories. 

Holding the Olympic Games again

That is the case of the People’s Party proposal to host the Summer Olympic Games again. Also, Xavier Trias, the Trias per Barcelona candidate, stated in an interview that another edition of the Olympics in the city would not be “ruled out” if he was elected mayor, something that was welcomed by the People’s Party. 

"I believe Barcelona should bid to host the 2036 Olympic Games if we are on time. It might be tight, but if not, we are ready for 2040," says candidate Valents' Eva Parera / Catalan News

Conservative Valents candidate Eva Parera stated that the city should “host the Games again in 2036, or in case they do not get there on time, in 2040”. According to Parera, that would “enable some infrastructure in Barcelona that has been forgotten to be cared for.” 

Yet, some of the candidates have preferred to take a look back and reference the “greatness” that once enveloped the city. That is the case, indeed, with the People’s Party mayoral candidate Daniel Sirera’s campaign ad, which reminisces about the Olympic city’s past and promises to “recover” the city that it once was. 

The ad shows a box labeled “Barcelona’92” filled with memories of the Olympics that Sirera goes through as he talks about how he wants to “bring back” the elements Barcelona had back then. 


Another ad that has a reference, in this case to the opening ceremony, is that of Socialist Jaume Collboni. His video greets the viewer with the same “Hola!” that was used to introduce the Olympics back in July 1992, one of the most memorable moments to this day. 

The current mayor, Ada Colau, has not made any promises regarding the Olympic Games, but is willing to put forward a proposition to host the Women’s Football World Cup in 2031. According to Colau, Barcelona is a city that “loves sports and has become a reference point for women’s football”.

'Olympic' mayor Pasqual Maragall's legacy

The mayor who led the city to the Barcelona Olympics was Pasqual Maragall, brother of a candidate of the upcoming election, Esquerra's Ernest Maragall, who has implicitly referred to the legacy of his relative during the campaign.

Pasqual Maragall was at the time member of the Socialist Party, and its current candidate for mayor, Collboni, has also referred to him more than once in the past few days.

Filling the Sink podcast about 1992 Olympics

Listen to the Filling the Sink podcast below Catalan News published last year to learn more about the 1992 Olympics.