The Corner

Obama-Olympics Update

From the White House, President Obama on losing the Olympics to Rio:

One of the things that I think is most valuable about sports is that you can play a great game and still not win. And so while I wish that we had come back with better news from Copenhagen, I could not be prouder of my home town of Chicago the volunteers who were involved, Mayor Daley, the delegation and the American people for the extraordinary bid we put forward.I do want to congratulate Rio de Janeiro and the nation of Brazil for winning the 2016 Olympics. I think this is truly a historic event as these will be the first Olympic games ever to be held in South America. And as neighbors in the Americas, as friends to the Brazilian people we welcome this extraordinary sign of progress that the 2016 games will be held in the Americas. I had a chance to talk with President Lula and gave him a hearty congratulations and told him our athletes will see him on the field of competition in 2016.

From WSJ.com: It’s Rio:

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 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.

From the New York Times:

COPENHAGEN — The International Olympic Committee delivered a stunning blow to Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics, knocking it out of the voting in the first round Friday, leaving Rio de Janeiro and Madrid waiting for the announcement of which city will host the Games. Tokyo was eliminated in the second round.

I.O.C. president Jacques Rogge made the announcement as the first round concluded, a surprisingly early exit, especially because of President Barack Obama’s whirlwind trip to boost the bid of his adopted city. Mr. Obama was the first American president to make an in-person appeal for a bid city and first lady Michelle Obama had also come earlier this week to lobby I.O.C. members for votes. Chicago’s bid leaders had worked for nearly four years and spent close to $50 million to bring the Summer Olympics to the United States for the first time in 20 years. Chicago had been considered among Olympic insiders as a favorite to win the Games, along with Rio.

More here.

Update I:

The news, as reported by the BBC, below. The Beeb’s sports correspondent says it looks like Rio will be it.

BBC sports news correspondent James Pearce: “This is the most tense part of an extraordinary day. We’ve been debating all day who could win this vote and we’ve been saying it was between Rio de Janeiro and Chicago. Well that turned out to be well wide of the mark, so while you have to say Rio are favourites ahead of Madrid when you bear in mind London are hosting 2012 and Sochi are hosting the Winter Olympics in 2014 – can we really see three Olympics in Europe in a row? – I’m reluctant to make any predictions after the shock of earlier.”

BBC News’ Adam Brookes in Chicago: “The shock of Chicago’s elimination was greater for the fact that it came in the first round. And greater for the fact that President Obama had taken valuable hours from his packed and tense political schedule to travel to Copenhagen. His legendary powers of persuasion will be said to have failed him, though in reality it will be Chicago’s bid that failed him. Nonetheless, this is a moment which allows the president’s detractors to allege waning prestige on the part of his presidency. And it will raise questions about the political advice that he is receiving.”

1635: We have a winner, people. No need for IOC president Jacques Rogge to use his vote and that means everyone – well, everyone except the Madrid and Rio delegates of course – can relax. The announcement ceremony kicks off at around 1730 BST, with the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games expected to be announced before 1800. Tense? I should coco.

1632: Not a huge surprise to see Tokyo drop out there – they entered today as big underdogs to win the bid – but could we be looking at a surprise to come, and Madrid pipping Rio de Janeiro?

1629: It comes down, then, to Rio de Janeiro and Madrid for the hosts of the 2016 Olympic Games.

TOKYO ELIMINATED FROM THE 2016 HOST CITY VOTE

1625: Well, isn’t that a turn up for the books? Chicago are eliminated in the first round – cue audible gasps around the auditorium – and a second round of voting opens immediately.

CHICAGO ELIMINATED FROM THE 2016 HOST CITY VOTE

1623: The vote closes and the scrutineers are now checking the results. If there is no majority for one city, remember, the city with the least votes will drop out and another vote will take place.

1622: The first round of voting for the 2016 Olympic Games host city is declared open.

Update II:

– AP: Obama Fails

– Chicago Tribune I: “Chin up, Chicago”

Chicago Tribune II: “Be Proud, Chicago”

Chicago Sun-Times: “Shocking first-punch knockout”

– NBC Chicago: “Chicago Lost: Five Reasons Why”

The Hill: “Denied!”

LAT: “Political blow to Obama”

– The AtlanticWire: “Why Chicago’s Elimination Is a Good Thing”

– NBC’s First Read

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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