February 23 - Madrid will bid to host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 or 2024 after losing out in the race to hold both the 2012 and 2016 Games, the city's Mayor, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon (pictured), said today.

He said the choice of date would be made after Madrid votes in local elections during the first half of 2011 in which he will stand for re-election.

Ruiz-Gallardon said: "The third time will be the charm.

"Madrid is an Olympic city."

The bid will actually be Madrid's fourth bid for the Games having also been unsuccessful in trying to host the 1972 Olympics, which were awarded to Munich.

The Spanish capital is the largest city in Europe never to have hosted the Olympics, an event that Spain has only staged once in its history, at Barcelona in 1992.

Ruiz-Gallardon had said in October 2009 after Madrid was beaten by Rio de Janeiro in the final round of voting by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to decide the host of the 2016 Games that a decision on another bid would only be made in 2011.

Five years ago, Madrid lost to London for the 2012 Olympics.

Madrid spent €37.8 million in its bid for the 2016 Olympics but it was an outsider given the unspoken rule host cities are rotated between continents.

Madrid lost out to Rio de Janeiro in the final vote 66-32, which was held during the IOC Session in Copenhagen last October.

Afterwards, Madrid's chief executive Mercedes Coghen claimed that they "had the best technical project" but the IOC voted for Rio because it was "somewhere new".   

Ruiz-Gallardon said the city would have to decide if it would be "more intelligent" to bid for the 2020 or the 2024 Olympics.

An attempt by Madrid to host the 2020 Games could sabotage a planned bid by Barcelona for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The IOC is due to award the 2020 Olympics at its Session in Buenos Aires in 2013.

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October 2009: IOC ignored the best bid claims Madrid
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