Rio Selected for 2016 Summer Games

In a surprising move, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) eliminated Chicago in the first round of voting. The IOC then eliminated Tokyo and Madrid, awarding the games to Rio de Janeiro. Rio becomes the first South American city to host either the Summer or Winter games.

Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told the committee, `It is a time to address this imbalance. It is time to light the Olympic cauldron in a tropical country.`

In a battle of presidents, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle had both lobbied for Chicago as did former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, who made an appeal for Madrid. Samaranch said, at age 89, he is `very near the end of my time.` Samaranch`s emotional appeal got Madrid into the final round, but, by that time, the vote wasn`t even close. Rio got twice as many votes as Madrid in the third and final round of voting.

In addition to playing up Chicago, President Obama had presented a Chicago games as an opportunity to have `a restoration of that understanding of what the United States is all about and the United States` recognition of how we are linked to the world.`

First lady Michelle Obama, made an emotional speech talking about her family, her life in the South Side of Chicago, and her father`s death from multiple sclerosis.

Thousands of people watching the IOC vote on a big screen TV in downtown Chicago reacted with stunned silence to the city`s loss.

While the Obama`s will be disappointed by the IOC vote, hosting an Olympic event may not be good for the economy, either of Chicago or the U.S. Brad Humphreys, at the University of Alberta in Canada, says, `If cities came out at the beginning with a true estimate of what the costs would be, they would never get anyone to support them.`

It took Montreal thirty years to pay back the costs of the `76 games. Cities that show profits often fail to take into account all of the indirect costs provided by local, state, and national governments. The most revealing example involves the 1998 Winter games in Nagano, Japan. Rather than reveal the bad news, officials their destroyed all of their financial records.

Coosa Valley News