By Duncan Mackay

January 13 - Barcelona has today  launched a plan to bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics to help the city celebrate hosting the Summer Games in 1992.

The Barcelona-Pirineus 2022 bid would see events held in the city and in the ski station in Pyrenees mountains to the north.

Barcelona's Mayor Jordi Hereu said: "There is no technical reason that impedes Barcelona from being a host city for the Winter Olympic Games."

He used the example of Vancouver, which are holding events up to 150 kilometres (93 miles) out of the city at Whistler when they stage the 2010 Olympics, which open next month, to back his argument.

Hereu said: "Barcelona has a good chance and wants to relive the Olympic dream.

"The city is ready and already has the experience."

No city has ever hosted both the Summer and Winter Games, although Munich, who hosted the 1972 Summer Games, are among three candidates bidding for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Barcelona will first have to compete against another Spanish bid from Zaragoza-Jaca and the Spanish Olympic Committee will decide which of the two progresses to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2013.

But any Spanish bid may first have to wait to see what the outcome is of the race to host the Summer Olympics in 2020.

Madrid may bid for those Games and, as it would be their third consecutive attempt, they may start as the early favourites, especially as it is the biggest city in Europe never to hosted the Olympics.

A decision on 2020 is due in 2013 while the host city for 2022 will be chosen in 2015.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former President of the IOC, is already backing the bid from his home city.

He said: "The initiative announced by Mayor Jordi Hereu is very positive because it demonstrates the vitality and good health of Spanish sport and Olympism.

"It already has the credentials and endorsements from the organisation of the 1992 Games, which earned the worldwide recognition."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]