Madrid mayor’s Olympic speech sparks online hilarity

Madrid Mayor Ana Botella AP Photo

MADRID — Spaniards still wiping away a tear after Madrid’s shock first-round rejection in the 2020 Olympics race have found relief by mocking the English-language bid presentation by the capital’s mayor, Ana Botella.

Despite her apparent linguistic difficulties, Botella made the effort of delivering her speech in English to Olympic chiefs in Buenos Aires on Saturday night.

But the Madrid mayor’s unmistakable Spanish accent and some surprising phrases set off a storm of mostly light-hearted criticism, in particular her assertion: “There is nothing quite like a relaxing cup of cafe con leche in Plaza Mayor”.

By Monday, T-shirts were on sale at 18 euros ($24) each with a parody of the Starbucks logo, featuring a profile of Botella and the logo: “Relaxing Cup of Cafe Con Leche in Plaza Mayor”.

On YouTube, a video of the mayor’s speech with mocking, phonetic subtitles of her English drew tens of thousands of views. Her first words “Dear IOC (International Olympic Committee) members, ladies and gentlemen”, for example, were subtitled: “Diar Allosi Menbers, Leidisan yentelman”.

On Twitter, hashtags that identify conversation topics such as #relaxingcup or #AnaBotella, drew huge numbers of comments. A fake Twitter account, @Relaxingcup had more than 11,000 followers by midday Monday.

Some videos on YouTube had mixed the speech with music into “dance” or “dubstep” songs.

But among the jokes, some commentators criticized the linguistic abilities of Spanish leaders in a country with a 26.26 percent unemployment rate.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy spoke to the Olympic chiefs in Spanish. Only Prince Felipe addressed the Olympic committee in English, French and Spanish.

Botella, 59, was appointed mayor of Madrid by the city councilors without the need for an election in December 2011 after her predecessor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon left to become justice minister.

The mayor, who has been married since 1977 to former right-leaning prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, has been subject to criticism before for apparent linguistic gaffes.

She famously declared in 2004: “Homosexual marriage will never be equal to heterosexual marriage in the same way that two apples produce another apple, but an apple and a pear will never produce another apple.”

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  • on_hindsight

    what’s funny and ironic was that she wouldn’t put on her earphone (for translation) when questions were in English, but she would when the press from Argentina and Spain threw questions to her in Spanish, her mother tongue. ayan tuloy na-ridicule sha.

  • joboni96

    ‘fake Twitter account, @Relaxingcup had more than 11,000 followers by midday’

    shows just how inane
    social media has begun

    wasting time on inane
    posts and pictures

    just what the imperialist prescribed
    to smokescreen their imperialist moves

    • beardedone

      Comedy has always existed and will exist. And should exist. It doesn’t mean you have to consume it 24h a day and ignore the supposed imperialist moves which are happening under your nose.

      • joboni96

        that’s what’s happening now

        the youth has no clue
        on massive imperialist moves happening now

        immersed on inane social media
        massively utilized by the imperialist

  • band1do


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