Rio De Janeiro will host 2016 Olympics, the International Olympic Committe announced, bringing the Olympic Games to South America for the first time and besting a strong Chicago bid that was strongly backed by President Obama.
Rio won in the third round, after Chicago was eliminated in the first round and Tokyo, earlier considered the weakest candidate, was eliminated in the second round.
Two hours after Mr. Obama brought his star power to Copenhagen Friday morning, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil pleaded with the IOC to embark on new territory and bring South America into the Olympic fold after more than a century of holding the Games in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. The Olympics have never taken place in Africa. There have been 30 Olympic Games in Europe, 12 in North America, five in Asia and two in Australia.
After IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge announced Rio as the winner, the leaders of the bid erupted in screams hugging President Da Silva who waited throughout the afternoon for the results of the vote. The celebration for Rio broke out even before the final outcome was announced, since it was deemed unlikely that the IOC would choose Madrid, the other finalist, and hold the Olympics in Europe three consecutive times. The 2012 Summer Games will occur in London, and the 2014 Winter Games will take place in Sochi, Russia. The 2010 Winter Games will take place in Vancouver.
Chicago’s early exit was a shock, as President Obama lent the full force of the White House to the effort and flew to Copenhagen overnight to deliver a seven-minute speech to the International Olympic Committee Friday morning. In addition, Michelle Obama spent much of this week in Copenhagen personally lobbying IOC members.