King Juan Carlos wished the Spanish Olympic team all success at the London Games as the crowning moment of their many years of effort, planning, personal betterment and self-sacrifice.
“You are a model of conduct and an example to youngsters, which means you bear a great responsibility. I’m sure you will be equal to the challenge,” he told the 137 members of the Spanish Olympic team at El Pardo Royal Palace.
The sovereign, accompanied by Queen Sofia, Crown Prince Felipe and the latter’s wife, Princess Letizia, recalled that these days mark the 20th year since the Olympic Games were contested in Barcelona, from which moment Spanish sports have had “isolated triumphs” in a number of disciplines.
The Spanish Olympic delegation will compete with 282 athletes in 31 disciplines, including seven team sports.
The athletes met earlier Monday with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who vowed that his government will emulate the Olympians’ values of “work, effort, dedication and perseverance” in dealing with the Iberian nation’s economic crisis.
When an athlete is injured, Rajoy said, he can get discouraged, but he gets back on his feet very quickly.
“We are going to work, make every effort, dedicate outselves and give the best of ourselves to overcome this situation,” he said, and to that end promised to do “the possible and the impossible.”
Rajoy, accompanied by Education, Culture and Sports Minister Jose Ignacion Wert, gave thanks for private sponsors’ support for Olympic athletes, convinced that they will be “smart enough to know what is the best way to sell their products, help the country and do the right thing.”