Japanese Olympians and Tokyo Olympic bidding committee members celebrate after hearing that Tokyo had been chosen to host the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Tokyo was awarded the 2020 summer Olympic Games on Saturday following a vote by the International Olympic Committee.
BUENOS AIRES - Tokyo was awarded the 2020 summer Games on Saturday, beating Istanbul in a head-to-head vote after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a charismatic plea to the International Olympic Committee.
The statesman’s slick narrative was aimed at allaying IOC concerns over the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, and would appear to have been pitched perfectly as the Japanese won convincingly by 60 votes to Istanbul’s 36.
Tokyo won the right to stage the sporting extravaganza for the second time, having hosted in 1964 when the Games first went to Asia, after two years of intense lobbying and tens of millions of dollars spent.
“I would like to thank everyone in the Olympic movement and we will host wonderful Olympic Games,” a clearly delighted Abe told Reuters.
Bid leader Tsunekazu Takeda said: “It is a great honour that Tokyo has been chosen.
“The first thing I will do when I return is to thank all of Japan,” he told Reuters.
For Istanbul it was a fifth unsuccessful bid to host a summer Olympics.
“I think it is an election between a traditional candidature and new grounds, and today it was the traditional candidature that won,” IOC vice-president and presidential candidate Thomas Bach told Reuters.
Madrid, which had pitched a safe, affordable, “sensible” bid had been earlier eliminated first in a secret vote by IOC members on a head to head with Istanbul after the two cities were tied in second place after the initial vote. Madrid’s attempt to host 2020 had been a third consecutive bid.
The next summer Olympics will be hosted by Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
MADRID SHOCKED: The Madrid delegation were left reeling on Saturday by the shock of their early elimination as host city for the 2020 summer Olympics.
There was a deathly hush in the bar where officials gathered to wait for the result of the International Olympic Committee head-to-head vote that eliminated the Spanish capital following a first-round tie with Istanbul.
The third bidder, Tokyo, was later awarded the Games.
“We believe the result bears no relation to the way (our presentation) was made. A decision like that is based on other criteria,” Spain’s Education Minister Jose Ignacio Wert told reporters.
“Everyone who attended the presentations of the three rival cities today can be in no doubt Madrid’s was the best.”
Some members of the large Spanish contingent were in tears when they emerged on the streets of the redeveloped port area of the Argentine capital on a grey, rainy afternoon.
Madrid, bidding for the third successive time, was confident of success after narrowly missing out on the 2012 and 2016 Games.
Fencer Jose Luis Pirri echoed Wert’s comments and suggested tactical voting had eliminated the Spanish capital.
“We expected to be in the final with Tokyo but it’s obvious they didn’t want us in the final because Madrid would have been very strong,” said Pirri.
“It’s a strange decision. Madrid has deserved to hold the Games for a long time and on top of that we are out in the first round, it’s quite absurd.”
NBA basketball player and Olympic silver medal winner Pau Gasol, a figurehead of the Madrid bid, could not hide his disappointment.
“There are factors we don’t control, that only (the IOC members) know about. It’s a shame because we were confident and had a good feeling,” Gasol said.
“I don’t think our work has been duly recognised in this instance.”
Enrique Cerezo, president of top soccer club Atletico Madrid, said: “I think it’s unfair Madrid should have been eliminated at the first turn. It looks to me like the system is very badly designed.”