COPENHAGEN — Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Olympics.
The Brazilian city was chosen Friday as host of the Games, beating Madrid in the final vote by the International Olympic Committee. Chicago was eliminated in the first round, one of the most shocking defeats ever handed down by the IOC, and Tokyo was knocked out in the second round.
Madrid’s surprising success in reaching the final round came after 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.”
In the end, Rio de Janeiro became the first South American country to host an Olympics, and only the second country in the Southern Hemisphere to host (Australia, which has hosted two, is the other).
Chicago had long been seen as a front-runner and got the highest possible level of support — from Obama himself. But he also only spent a few hours in the Danish capital where the vote was held and left before the result was announced. Former IOC member Kai Holm said that the brevity of his appearance may have counted against him.