Rio to stage 2016 Olympics

Chicago suffers early exit as Games go to South America for first time

Last Updated: 02/10/09 7:36pm

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And the winner is...Rio de Janerio

And the winner is...Rio de Janerio

Rio de Janeiro has won the race to host the 2016 Olympics.

"For South America, it will be a magical moment. For the Olympic Movement, it will be an opportunity to feel the warmth of our people, the exuberance of our culture, the sun of our joy"
Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Quotes of the week

The Brazilian city comfortably defeated Madrid in the final round of voting by the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen.

Chicago, the odds-on favourites, were surprisingly eliminated early when they ended up finishing last out of the four bids in the first round of voting.

Tokyo were then knocked out in the second round, leaving Rio and Madrid to battle it out as the last two cities standing.

Comfortable victory

Rio won out by a distance in the end, polling 66 votes to 32, to send the summer Games to South America for the very first time.

"All four projects are of the highest quality - thank you for your hard work, energy and commitment," said IOC president Jacques Rogge.

"But in every competition there can only be one winner."

Chicago had begun as favourites but not even an appearance from United States President Barack Obama could sway the 98 eligible members.

In flying out to to the Danish capital to help push his hometown's case, Obama became the first sitting US President to address an IOC session.

"I urge you to choose Chicago, I urge youto choose America," he said, though his plea proved in vain when the first-round votes were counted.

Instead it was Rio - whose efforts had been spearheaded by Mike Lee, the man who was the communications director for London's succcessful bid for the 2012 Games - who came out on top.

Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was there to witness the announcement having pleaded for South America to be given their chance.

He stressed the government would provide the strongest of financial guarantees for what he feels will be a "magical moment" for the entire continent.

"It is time to address this imbalance and to send a powerful message to the whole world: the Olympic Games to all peoples, to all continents, to all mankind," he said.

"For South America, it will be a magical moment. For the Olympic Movement, it will be an opportunity to feel the warmth of our people, the exuberance of our culture, the sun of our joy."

London backing

London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said: "I congratulate the whole Rio de Janeiro team. This has been a long, tough campaign. All four cities would have delivered great Games.

"We are delighted to be handing over to Rio de Janeiro who put young people at the forefront of their bid.

"The Games are now going to a continent that has never staged them before, providing an extraordinary opportunity to transform the lives of 200 million South American young people through sport.

"I look forward to welcoming Carlos Nuzman and his team back to London to share our experiences and build on the London legacy."

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