Friday, October 2, 2009

Olympics 2016: Rio is the winner

Rio de Janeiro has won the contest to host the 2016 Olympics and take the games to South America for the first time after the shock elimination of Chicago in the first round of voting today.
There were celebrations on the streets of the city this evening after the announcement by the IOC president Jacques Rogge.
Chicago's early exit was seen as a snub for Barack Obama, who flew to Copenhagen to represent his former home town. Obama, the first serving US president to appear before the IOC, told delegates he hoped that the games would show "America at its best is open to the world". Michelle Obama arrived two days earlier, alongside other dignitaries including the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and King Juan Carlos of Spain.
Today's 45 minute presentations were the end of a three-year journey for the bidding cities. Tokyo was knocked out in the second round of voting before the IOC voted again to decide between Rio and Madrid.
Madrid's surprising success in reaching the final round came after the former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch made an unusual appeal for the Spanish capital, reminding the IOC members as he asked for their vote that at age 89 "I am very near the end of my time."
The Brazilian president told delegates that Rio's bid was made on behalf of the whole of South America. "I honestly think it is Brazil's turn," he said. "It is South America's bid. This is a continent that has never held the games. It is time to address this imbalance. It is time to light the Olympic cauldron in a tropical country."
The city's bid chief said awarding the honour to Brazil was an opportunity to make Olympic history.
"When you push the button today, you have the chance to inspire a new continent, make Olympic history," said Carlos Nuzman, the Rio bid chief executive and IOC member. "Vote Rio, and we offer a gateway to 180 million passionate young people in South America."

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