Tokyo Wins 2020 Olympic Host Race

Sports | September 8, 2013, Sunday // 11:32|  views

IOC president Jacques Rogge announces the winner of the bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, following Saturday's vote in Buenos Aires. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The International Olympic Committee, IOC, selected Tokyo to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

IOC president Jacques Rogge congratulated Tokyo on its "excellent bid" and "comprehensive" victory.

The vote was held in Buenos Aires.

Tokyo previously hosted the Summer Games in 1964. Japan's bid for 2020 billed the city as the safe choice with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe being successful in reassuring IOC members on the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

In the final presentation, Abe also took personal responsibility for keeping the games safe.

"Let me assure you the situation is under control. It has never done and will never do any damage to Tokyo," he said.

After the win, Abe congratulated Japanese people and declared himself happier than when he was elected.

The other two top contenders were Madrid and Istanbul.

Tokyo defeated Istanbul 60-36 in the final round of secret voting. Madrid was eliminated earlier after an initial tie with Istanbul.

Even though it was 5 am Sunday in Japan, about 1 200 dignitaries and Olympic athletes came to a convention hall in downtown Tokyo to celebrate the news.

The joy and tears in Japan were in stark contrast to the despair felt on the streets of Madrid and among the Istanbul delegation.

With the conflict in Syria posing a major issue, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said selecting Turkey "will send a very meaningful and strong message of peace, not only to the world, but to our broader region."

CNN reminds that Turkey would have been the first Muslim country to host the Games, and with a median age of less than 30 years, one of the youngest. However, it missed out for the fifth time.

In addition to Turkey's border with Syria, June's protest rallies in Istanbul's Taksim Square also might have troubled some committee members.

Madrid boasted the fact that 80% of its venues were ready and only USD 1.9 B was needed for construction, a fraction of the other two bids.

Spain's Prince Philip, a former Olympic sailor, was a lead figure in Spain's presentation.

"Madrid has perhaps the most reasonable and responsible financial foundation in recent Olympic history. We can host the Olympics in 2020 with no risk to the Olympic movement," Spanish Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy said.

This was Madrid's third unsuccessful bid.

On Sunday, the three sports competing to be added to the 2020 roster will know their fate.

Squash is hoping to be included for the first time, but is up against a combined baseball/softball bid and wrestling -- which is seeking to be reinstated. Bulgaria hopes wrestling will prevail as it is a sport in which Bulgarian athletes traditionally excel.

The 125th IOC Session will be the last for its president Jacques Rogge, 71, who is standing down after 12 years in the role. His successor will be elected Tuesday.

The 2016 Summer Olympics will be in Brazil. The Winter Olympics will be held in Russia in 2014 and South Korea in 2018.

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Tags: Prince Philip, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan, Tokyo, Istanbul, Madrid, Buenos Aires, vote, 2020 Summer Olympic Games, president Jacques Rogge, International Olympic Committee, IOC, Spanish Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy


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