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Posted: October 2, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Olympics: Rio de Janeiro triumphs in 2016 Olympic bid drama

OCT 02: After the tightest Olympic Games bid race for years, Rio de Janeiro emerged as dramatic winner of a cliff-hanging vote by the International Olympic Committee at its Congress in the Danish capital.

Olympic president Jacques Rogge finally ripped open the sealed envelope and produced the sheet of card bearing the good news for Brazilian sport at 6.46pm local time in the Danish capital. That single gesture ended a 17-month bidding process and signalled Olympic history since the Games have never before been staged in South America. Chicago, despite the stirring efforts of President and Mrs Obama, crashed and burned in the first round; Tokyo fell in the second round. That left the final duel between Rio and Madrid - between the candidates two sports politics veterans in Joao Havelange and Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Rio's long march began on May 16, 2007, when the IOC asked national Olympic committees to nominate 2016 host applicant. On September 13, the IOC announced seven applicant cities: Baku, Chicago, Doha, Madrid, Prague, Rio and Tokyo. On the basis of a working group report the executive board decided on June 4, 2008, that Chicago, Madrid, Rio and Tokyo should go forward.

By February 12, 2009, all four had submitted their formal candidature files and then came the evaluation commission inspections followed by presentations to the executive in Lausanne on last June 17-18.

Four candidate cities meant a potential maximum three rounds of voting with IOC members from a bid city/country excluded. That, with one suspension and two absentees, meant 95 votes available in the first round with a simple majority to be pursued.

Last-chance saloon

All four cities had one final opportunity to state their cases to the IOC before the vote. Chicago went first. United States President Barack Obama flew in hours before the opening of congress and flew back out immediately after wrapping up the presentation. First Lady Michelle had already been in town for two days meeting, greeting and hoping to influence IOC voters.

Both addressed the IOC movingly but clearly their words fell on stony ground. The Obamas were still in the air when Chicago's humiliation was announced by Rogge.

Tokyo laid heavy emphasis on an eco-friendly Games and solid financial guarantees while Rio --led by state President Lula who had also left before the victory announcement --stressed the historic potential of a vote for South America. Madrid wrapped up the presentations ahead of the voting process.

Vancouver hosts the 2010 Winter Games with London staging the next summer Games in 2012.


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