January 30, 2012

MADRID (AP) -- Spain's financial crisis should not affect Madrid's third consecutive Olympic bid and hosting the games could help the country recover from the recession, leaders of the 2020 candidacy said Monday.

Madrid unveiled a colorful bid logo, stepping up its latest campaign after failed attempts for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

Spain's economic downturn has left nearly one in four Spaniards unemployed and a youth jobless rate of 45 percent, but organizers believe the Olympics could help Spain emerge from its prolonged downturn.

"Today is an important day for the future of Spanish sport, for the future of this country," bid leader and Spanish Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco said. "We want (the Olympics). We can do it. we dream of them, we are in love with them and we need them. We owe it to society, and, above all, to the youth that encourages us."

The bid budget already has been slashed by 40 percent to about $35 million.

A university student designed Spain's new logo, and much of Monday's presentation seemed directed at a younger generation.

Mayor Ana Botella offered complete support to the bid, and the Spanish government also has backed another try at landing the Olympics. Madrid finished runner-up to Rio de Janeiro for 2016 and finished third in the race for the 2012 Games, which will be held in London.

Madrid is competing against Rome, Tokyo, Istanbul, Doha in Qatar and Baku, Uzbekistan.

Bid documents must be submitted by Feb. 15 to the International Olympic Committee, which will select the host city in September 2013.

"This bid will be led by athletes," Botella said of a candidacy that includes at least six Spanish athletes. "Madrid is capable of organizing the greatest games in history. We deserve the games."

Madrid is hoping the IOC rewards the city on its third try just as it did for Pyeongchang, the South Korean resort which landed the 2018 Winter Games after two previous failed bids.

The new Madrid logo is based on the city's "Puerta de Alcala," an 18th-century neoclassical monument that once acted as one of the main entrances to the city. It resembles the multicolored hand logo of the 2016 bid.

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