Tokyo Will Host The 2020 Summer Olympics, Beating Out Istanbul

By September 9, 2013NPR News

It will be Tokyo, not Istanbul or Madrid, who hosts the 2020 Summer Olympics, the International Olympic Committee and its president, Jacques Rogge, announced in Buenos Aires Saturday. Rival city Madrid was eliminated in the first round of voting. We have updated this post with the latest news.

Update at 4:55 p.m. ET: Voting Tally Detailed

Madrid and Istanbul had been tied after the first round with 26 votes each, according to the Games Bids site. After Istanbul was chosen over Madrid in a runoff, Tokyo won 60 votes in the third round, to Istanbul’s 36.

Update at 4:20 p.m. ET: Tokyo Is It

Tokyo has been chosen to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games, the IOC said in an announcement that was streamed live online Saturday afternoon.

In selecting Tokyo, IOC officials ended a recent trend that had favored holding the Olympics in cities or regions that haven’t previously hosted the games. Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964; the Winter Games were held in Nagano in 1998.

But Tokyo officials also promoted their city’s bid as symbolizing a new chapter for Japan, which is still recuperating from the tsunami and earthquake that devastated swaths of the country in 2011. Organizers have said they plan to have Olympic torchbearers run through areas hit by the tsunami.

After the initial round of voting, Istanbul won a runoff over Madrid, leaving Tokyo firmly in the favored spot.

The final announcement came as a striking turnabout for the Turkish delegation, which had earlier believed it had won not just the runoff vote but the competition itself, reports the Inside the Games website.

Our original post continues:

Officials from the three cities made their final pitches today. We’ll update this post with the news of the winning city. We expect the announcement just after 4 p.m. ET.

As of earlier this week, oddsmakers saw Tokyo as a slight favorite to win. All of the finalists have submitted recent bids to host the Olympics. And all three were widely seen as having flaws that endanger their chances:

  • Istanbul saw a crackdown on anti-government protesters in June; last month, 31 Turkish athletes were suspended for doping. And worries over regional crises may play a role.
  • Tokyo officials have sought to reassure Olympic representatives that their venue is free from any ill effects from recent radioactive leaks at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
  • Madrid has pursued its bid under the cloud of Spain’s ailing economy and high unemployment rate, as well as its own doping problems.

Bids from the cities of Baku, Azerbaijan, and Doha, Qatar, were not selected for the final round.

In coming days, the IOC meetings will also produce the final list of sports that will be part of the 2020 Games. Wrestling, squash, and a combined bid from baseball and softball are in contention for one remaining slot. And IOC officials will also select a new president to replace the outgoing Jacques Rogge.

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Tokyo Will Host The 2020 Summer Olympics, Beating Out Istanbul

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