Rio de Janeiro wins out as host of 2016 Olympics
Rio will be the first South American city to host the Games. Chicago's loss is a disappointment to President Obama, who traveled to Copenhagen to promote the US bid.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Swaying International Olympic Committee votes with the argument that South America has never hosted an Olympic games before, Brazil's sun-drenched Rio de Janeiro was awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics, holding out against last-minute lobbying by President Barack Obama for his adopted home city of Chicago.Skip to next paragraph
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Tens of thousands of ecstatic Brazilians, crowded along the city's famed Copacabana beach, erupted in cheers and dancing when the news was announced shortly before 1 p.m. local time, even as crowds in Chicago and the other defeated cities, Madrid and Tokyo, trudged home in disappointment.
The announcement by IOC President Jacques Rogge in Copenhagen came after days of intense lobbying from the likes of Mr. Obama, the Spanish royal family, and the new Prime Minister of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama. In the Brazilian corner were President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and soccer great and global sports icon Pele, who borrowed Obama's campaign catch phrase, "yes we can," in their successful effort to sway voters.
With the decision made and Brazil already slated to host the 2014 World Cup, now comes the hard work of renovating old stadiums and infrastructure and building new facilities in a program of spending that the Brazilian government expects will top $14 billion.
Where that money will come from, and whether the benefits will outweigh the costs, is now on some Brazilian's minds.
The country has suffered along with the rest of the world in the current global recession, but is also bringing on-line rich new oil and gas deposits off its coast.
Rio officials predict that for every Brazilian real spent, three times that much will return in tourism and other investments.
But Rio has had trouble controlling costs in the recent past. The city with a reputation as a Brazilian playground, thought blighted by crime and corruption, hosted the Pan American Games in 2007. While the event itself came off well, spending ballooned to six times the original budget, prompting critics to question the seriousness of organizers.