Spain is witnessing its golden age in sports. I would cut to the chase and reason with a theory that could point as why it is so. Surely , it is not just coincidence.
A country’s generation born close to an Olympics benefits immensely. And if the country continues to aspire for sporting success, there is a good chance, it will produce champions.
It is 2012 and it has been 20 years since the 1992 Barcelona Games.20 years is a generation.We can also figure in that 1982 FIFA World Cup was held in Spain. The Olympics needs sporting infrastructure, that sporting base is used by future sportspersons. The exposure breeds familiarity, practice pushes perfection, academies produce prodigies. In simple words, reaping what you sowed.
Now it is an observed fact that taxpayers keep on footing the bill after Olympics are done with. Athens is still burdened by the massive expenditure when it hosted 2004, so is Atlanta from 1996. Infrastructure built for big ticket sporting events can actually go to waste. But the same stadiums can be used to breed academies or used to host events of relatively lesser profile, which keeps the money coming and encouraging sportspersons to excel all the same.
The sportsmen and women make nations proud on the world stage. The link between hosting an Olympics and becoming a sporting power can be made for South Korea and Seoul 1988. South Korea however is a tiny state and it is easier for them to use the facilities built. They have carried the momentum all the while getting new sports and disciplines. Some nations host an Olympics after becoming a sporting giant, like China did at Beijing 2008.
I suggest that it’s because of the push that Spain got from Barcelona 92’and their pursuit of sporting excellence, that they are reaping success. Spain has always had a great football league, and yet were under-achievers on the world stage. With an unprecedented successive Euro-World Cup-Euro treble by Spanish football team, they have staked claim to be the one of the best teams ever.
Also the Catalans do not consider themselves to be part of Spain. A thing that surfaces every now and then at Barcelona’s Camp Nou at the time of El Clasico. That independent identity feud aside, Spain noticeably is not producing champions from just Barcelona and Madrid. They are coming from Oviedo, Seville, Valencia and Málaga. Moreover and importantly, it is just not about football anymore. Spain has champion teams in basketball, handball, futsal and watersports. They have in Gemma Mengualin synchronised swimming and Sergio Garcia and recently Azahara Muñoz in golf .They have won the Davis Cup 5 times since 2000, and have had Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Fernando Verdaso, Sergie Bruguera, Carlos Moya, Aranxta Sanchez Vicario , Conchita Martinez in tennis. Motorsports has Fernando Alonso’s double world championship in Formula 1.Moto GP has the talents of Jorge Lorezo, Dani Pedrosa and Nicolás Terol among others. Even if we discount Miguel Indurain’s 5 consecutive Tour de France titles between 1991-95, Spain has had Oscar Pereiro and Carlos Sastre winning in Tour de France in 2006 and 2008 respectively.Spain were hockey silver medallists at Beijing Olympics in 2008. The list is long and impressive. Read more here. The museum benefits Gaudi, Gaudi benefits the museum. Players need stadiums, stadium needs players. Spain benefits with both in its golden age of sports.