The Spanish Olympic Committee withdrew a lyric for the national anthem less than a week after it was made public, citing a “lack of agreement” about it. Committee president Alejandro Blanco, said the lyric, which began with “Viva España”, had aroused “controversy and in some cases, rejection”. For many people, the phrase harked back to General Franco’s era. Another of the verses included the words “Ama a la patria” (love the fatherland) which was criticised as reflecting Franco’s nationalism in the face of separatism in Catalonia and the Basque country. The lyric used during his dictatorship were dropped in 1975 because of its association with his regime. The four new verses were selected from 7,000 entries by a panel of six experts including a musicologist, a historian, a composer and an athlete. Their task was to come up with up-to-date words for a royal march that was first played in 1770 during the reign of King Carlos III. The winner of the competition was Paulino Cubero, an unemployed man from La Mancha. Tenor Placido Domingo was to sing the new anthem at a gala event on January 21st but that was cancelled. Sr Blanco said he accepted it was time to go back to the drawing board.


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