Shocked Madrid crowds silenced by 2020 Games vote exit

Thousands of Spaniards fell into a stunned silence Saturday as Madrid's bid to host the 2020 Games was thrown out in a shock first round vote by Olympic chiefs.

Many gasped in surprise and looked bewildered as theirdreams of winning the Games and a potential economic windfall for the recession-hit nation were shattered.

Just moments before, thousands of people packing the city centre had been singing "Madrid, Madrid" and dancing in preparation for celebrations.

Then it began raining and the news emerged from Buenos Aires that the Spanish capital, far from being chosen, was in a battle with Istanbul to survive into the second round.

"Yes, we can!" chanted still-hopeful crowds packed around the granite arches of the city's Puerta de Alcala city gate where giant screens relayed the action in Buenos Aires.

Then the unthinkable happened: Madrid was ejected from the race in the first round.

As spotlights projected the Madrid 2020 logo on to the city gates, complete silence fell over the thousands of people who had been expecting to party into the night.

Many who had been clutching red balloons let them fly into the air and began heading back home.