Tokyo selected to host 2020 Summer Olympic Games

4:36 PM, Sep 7, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Tokyo to host 2020 Olympics

The Tokyo 2020 bid delegation celebrate as Tokyo is awarded the 2020 Summer Olympic Games during the 125th IOC Session - 2020 Olympics Host City Announcement at Hilton Hotel on September 7, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

BUENOS AIRES (USA TODAY) -- In a climate of political and economic uncertainty, following a bit of risk-taking by awarding Games to Sochi and Rio de Janiero, the International Olympic Committee opted for a "safe pair of hands" by selecting Tokyo to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Japan's capital beat a bid by Istanbul in the final round of voting Saturday.

PHOTOS | 2020 Olympics Host City Announcement

In the first round of IOC voting, Tokyo received the most votes and progressed to the next round, while Madrid and Istanbul went to a tiebreaker. Madrid was eliminated by four votes.

Istanbul entered voting with its chances fading following concerns about civil war in neighboring Syria, anti-government protests and a slew of doping scandals. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said an Olympics in his country "will send a very meaningful and strong message, not only to the world, but to our broader region."

"At this critical moment, we would like to send a strong message of peace to the whole world from Istanbul," Erdogan said.

After making some bold moves to take the Olympics to new places, the IOC is returning to Japan for the first time since 1998, when the country hosted the Winter Games in Nagano. Sochi will host the next Winter Games in February -- the first Winter Olympics to be held in Russia. Two years later, the Games will be held in South America for the first time. Just two years after Brazil hosts the World Cup, the 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro.

With an economy in crisis - a 26.3% unemployment rate, which balloons to more than 50% for young people, Madrid failed to convince the IOC's 95 voters of its stability. Madrid failed to advance even with 80% of its of venues already in place (thanks to two previously failed bids and the smallest construction budget -- $1.9 billion -- of the three cities). Istanbul's was $19 billion.

Even with an austere budget (at least compared to Sochi's $50 billion expenditures) and the promise of no white elephants and a persuasive prince, Madrid was unable to distance itself from the competition.

Spanish Twitter users immediately resorted to a bit of Olympic gallows humor, tweeting about Madrid 2984 or Madrid 3020. It's the fourth time the city has failed in its bid (1972, 2012, 2016, 2020).


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