October 2nd, 2009
10:00 AM ET

Will IOC members vote with heads or hearts?

COPENHAGEN, Denmark - The bid cities are making their final presentations to members of the International Olympic Committee right now and you can feel the tension and the sense of anticipation in the air.

U.S. President Barack Obama is in Copenhagen to pitch for Chicago's bid. (AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
U.S. President Barack Obama is in Copenhagen to pitch for Chicago's bid. (AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Around me, in the media hub of the Bella Center, are hundreds of journalists from all over the world, most of them from the countries which are vying for the Games. Every now and then I hear one of their reporters live on air. It really feels like I am in the eye of the storm here.

Everyone has been speculating about who is going to win. There are four really strong candidates and the chances are the host city for the 2016 Games will not be decided in the first round of voting. This, my friends, is going down to the wire.

Who will be the final two bids standing? Well, in my opinion, it will come down to a duel between Rio de Janeiro and Chicago. The Brazilian city could make history by becoming the first in South America to host the Games.

Sport in this region has developed a lot in the last decade, and the fact that the economic situation has also improved means that this continent is finally ready to receive the Olympics.

With Chicago, the IOC knows it has a safe bet. Three American cities have already hosted the Games, and the United States has the experience and know-how needed to organize a great event.

Furthermore, the money the IOC could make from TV deals with American networks will exceed any amount received from channels from other countries. And we all know money talks, right? So it will basically come down to whether the IOC members vote with their hearts of their heads.

The heart calls for Rio, the head for Chicago.

What about the others? Well Madrid has a shot. A realistic shot. Over 70 percent of Olympic venues are already in place or have started to be built in the Spanish capital so from an infrastructure standpoint, it is a very strong bid. Its main problem is the fact that the previous Games will also be held in Europe. if London were not organizing the 2012 Olympics, then Madrid could be the frontrunner.

As far as Tokyo is concerned, this is a long shot. The bid has lacked passion and the last media activities here in Copenhagen have reflected that. The fact the 2008 Games were in Beijing is also a disadvantage.

Its strength is the green and environmentally-friendly approach. The Japanese city has presented a plan for an Olympic stadium run entirely on solar energy.

So the scene is set. As the presentations are made, we follow them with great interest. Who will win? Watch this space...

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Filed under:  Olympics
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Hardi

    Voting for Rio is voting with heads not only heards. Brazil is now a major international economic player, it is one of the major world economies, it has not been severely affected by the crisis, and the country is prepared to back the bid of Rio to host the Olympics.

    What more? Brazil hosted the Pan American games, while Rio is known for hosting huge events such as Carnaval, major shows and New Year's even celebration. Last but not least, Brazil will host the World Cup in 2014 and a lot of synergies could be achieved in this regard.

    The vote for Rio is hearts but also heads!

    October 2, 2009 at 10:31 am | Reply
  2. juris

    I hope it will be Rio. South America deserves it 🙂

    October 2, 2009 at 10:41 am | Reply
  3. Phil

    If they let Chicago in – they don't have any heads.

    October 2, 2009 at 11:07 am | Reply
  4. Tonhão

    Chicago de cu é rola.

    October 2, 2009 at 11:14 am | Reply
  5. Alex Molokwu

    From all standards, It is of course very glearing that the city of chicago will emerge the winner.

    October 2, 2009 at 11:18 am | Reply
  6. Jairo

    I live in Rio. I don´t want World Cup or Olympics here. We doesn´t have schools for poor people, don´t have hospital, every day someone is killed by a "bala perdida" a lost bullet, due a gunfight. There are kidnappings every day and bank robbers too. We need the money for Education, Health and Securuty, we don´t need a Olympics game. Why spend 14 billions dollars in game with all that such problems?

    October 2, 2009 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  7. B Wouter

    I'm hoping for Chicago to win, the centre of the economic crisis could definitely use a boost. We all profit when USA profits.

    -B Wouters, Netherlands

    October 2, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  8. Paul

    The US has already hosted too many Olympics; and Spain and Japan have hosted in the past as well. It's time to let a new country and continent serve as host.

    Besides, with all the political corruption endemic in Chicago, it would be an embarrassment to the US if eventually some of the Olympic funds wound their way into the hands of politicians or their associates.

    October 2, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Reply
  9. Shyam

    Tokyo all the way.

    They are the only bid that promises environmentally friendly games. After last years Beijeing Olympics which was not so environmentally friendly due to burning tons of fuel in the country, the Tokyo games will be a welcome change. Plus the Japanese have the best technology so I am sure they will be able to deliver high standards. The only problem is we live in Europe so to watch the events I will have to wake up at 2 AM.

    October 2, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  10. Lucky

    I think Rio deserve to win the bidding. I saw the presentation and I am convinced they have the best plan. All the best!

    October 2, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Reply
  11. Fabricio

    Hey, I will see you in Rio de Janeiro. I am sorry but it's Rio turn now.

    October 2, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  12. Jon

    Obama owes his puppetmasters an Olympics in Chicago. Bleh... I vote for Rio – give SA the Olympics!

    October 2, 2009 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  13. johny

    I doubt this guy, Jairo, lives in Rio. I'm a Carioca, proud of my city. It's not true that every day someone is killed by a lost bullet. The number is huge, but offcialy Rio had 134 cases in 2008. Kidnappings are almost not heard anymore in Rio, and bank robbers felt 340% last 10 years. Of course we need Education, of course we need to take care of public health system. But to each dollar invested in Rio for 2016, the city will get back 3 dollars. Jairo, come on.

    October 2, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Reply
  14. Guillermo

    I'm from Madrid, but actually living at Paris. Madrid would be the favorit... but with the 2012 Games hosted at London, i'm afraid we don't have too many chances. Why haven't we waited till 2020? By the way, there isn't any law about repeating the games on the same continent, but the rotation is such a tradition.
    For me the winner should be Rio. It's a great moment to start the Olympic tradition in South America... But they still have problems to fix, mostly security and class diferences. Lula is doing a great job in that way.
    Chicago has the problem of Atlanta. Private investments aren't exactly the COI's ideal model of organization. Atlanta has been the prove of that. And Tokio has 'the asiatic games' of Beijing too much next, and a lack of passion showed into the race for the Games.
    So... Madrid with my heart, Rio with my head.
    Guillermo, Paris

    October 2, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  15. Luke

    Rio de Janeiro deserves these games! Its an incredible city! The people of Brazil deserves! South America deserves! I spent 3 amazing months in Rio de Janeiro this year and its an incredible city. I dont think security is a question, the police of Rio are very good! The media make out Rio to be more dangerous than it truely is, you have to experience Rio to know what its truely like. Its full of incredible people that will make the world feel welcome. BRITAIN BACKS RIO 2016!! VAMOS RIO DE JANEEEEIRO!!!!

    October 2, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  16. Cátia

    I believe that Brazil has a good chance! A country that receives all cultures without any discrimination! have no color set, are white, black, yellow and red in our hearts! BRAZIL – RIO "WE CAN"

    October 2, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  17. Luke

    If South Africa can host the World Cup, then Rio can host these games without question! Vamos RIO!!! BRITAIN BACKS YOUR BID!

    October 2, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  18. Tokyo

    Tokyo is probably the best city to hold it.

    Why, the infrastructure is already in place. Tokyo has a very extensive transportation network (the most used in the world). Tokyo having hosted the 1964 Olympics already has venues ready, that can be quickly refurbished and new ones built with Japanese efficiency. Tokyo is also offering a compact city. Not to mention, Tokyo and Japan as a whole is a very very safe city and country.

    October 2, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  19. Jose

    Chicago must win.
    Rio was a possible choice but there are too much problems with football in Brazil. And on the big city there are always hundreds of death by firefights between drug gangs and the police. If anything of that happens nearby the olympic stadium many people will die and don´t even know what has happened...
    Even the next year cup on South Africa will get so much problems due to drug and racist organizations that will target the people that will see the games... that´s enough. Brazil got the world cup football for 2014 so that is already a big problem for them to solve.

    October 2, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  20. Dani

    It is Rio! Head, heart and full body! Yes, we can!

    October 2, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Reply
  21. Roger

    I just can't understand why Rio. That's overwhelmingly wrong. Sao Paulo would be the right choice...

    October 2, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  22. nwuruku

    i hope the judgement is based on historical hostings of differente continent and not the superpower show of wit of some contestant countries.go Rio...

    October 2, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  23. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Latest reports say Rio and Madrid are still in the race. Best wishes to the other two in their future bids.

    October 2, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  24. G.D.

    The Olympic voting is a bit corrupt. Money needs to be in place way ahead of the vote. Perhaps President Obama was naive to think he could sway Olympic Committee members with an in person visit. There were 94 voters and Obama should have written 47 checks for about 2 million a piece to cover 50% of the votes. I'm being a bit sarcastic here, but the world is corrupt. Why do we think the voting is not corrupt.

    Madrid has the worst airport in the world so Rio will probably get it, plus the Southern hemisphere deserves an attempt.

    October 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  25. julio

    ROGER, if you lived here you would understand what RIo is all about, gorgeous CITY.

    But we do have a Drugs issues, stray bullets, and not to mention bad equipped hospitals. I am not fond of the Idea, but looks like Rio takes it.

    October 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  26. Michael

    Pedro Pinto, come on? You are Portuguese but seem to be having a hard time accepting the bid of Rio de Janeiro, right? Whats the problem?

    Go Rio!!!

    October 2, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  27. Marco, Brasilia

    I think they will vote for Rio, for one only reason: South America never saw an Olimpics Game.

    October 2, 2009 at 4:00 pm | Reply
  28. Leo

    I'm laughing at so many of these comments!! Why Rio Roger? Ever been, prob not! Sao Paulo? You know what kind of traffic that would cause...think before you post, Jose, Your point about the cup in 2014, exactly why Rio will get the bid, by then we will have so may infrastructure developments and still have 2 years before the Olympics! Also, who wants to go to Madrid for a month? In Rio you have beaches, great restaurants, great people, mountains, caipirinhas, c'mon!! It on Rio 2016!!! We deserve it!! Vamos pra la Brasileiros, e nossa vez!!

    October 2, 2009 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  29. Silva

    I also live in Rio and also dispute what this Jairo character said. Perhaps he would like to take a stroll through Chicago south side. All big cities have violence problems, and these problems are not solved by pushing the city out of international view and hoping that no one notice us here. Quite the contrary, the Olympics will help enhance transportation, education, security and the health system of the city. The city will rise to the challenge as it did for the very successful pan-american games held here, and will be a even better city after the event.

    October 2, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  30. Maria

    I support Madrid, because It is a beautiful city with a great culture, also you can find a good public transportation, it is a safe city, more than Rio. There is less poberty than in Rio. All the organization for the olympics games are almost ready. I hope Madrid will be the next host country for the olimpics games.

    October 2, 2009 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  31. kev

    Perhaps what knocked Chicago out is that Mr. Samaranch is present.

    October 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  32. Jose

    Rio de Janeiro will win. The olympics always plays on different continents. So London 2012 defeats Madrid.
    Good Luck Rio (you will need it...)

    October 2, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  33. Miklos Farkas

    Further, the Olympic spirit is not, and should not be, about money. It's about something more; words that come to mind are unity and inspiration.

    Fortunately, money didn't "talk" here. It was just announced that the IOC eliminated Chicago from the bid. It's shouldn't be about power play, or money, and fortunately, the IOC didn't let it become about that here.
    The United States have held the games on 8 occasions, not three...

    October 2, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  34. Elysia

    I think this is not the point. just read the post and you will see that each heart and head feel adn think defferently, mistly biased by prejudices adn preconception, life that of yours, guys on World Sports. You keep talking about safety, but what country is still safe in the world? have you read what has been said about Washington in Australia? have a look at this transcription:

    An interesting letter in the Australian Shooter Magazine this week, which I quote: "If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq Theater of operations during the past 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers per month.

    The firearm death rate in Washington, DC is 80.6 per 100,000 for the same period. That means you are about 25 per cent more likely to be shot and killed in the US capital, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the US , than you are in Iraq.

    Conclusion: The US should pull out of Washington DC.

    October 2, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  35. Hardi

    Rio de Janeiro represents the chaging world landscape, with major countries such as Brazil emerging as world players. Rio de Janeiro represents change, hope and a new time.

    The world has changed and the Olympics has to follow suit.

    October 2, 2009 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  36. Kwantin

    Rio,all the way.God bless Brasil

    October 2, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  37. Temple Iñeh

    I'm Nigerian who adopted Brazil as my homeland. I'm a writer too, and I have written a lot about Brazil and what this wonderful country has to offer to the world.
    Now for this 2016 Olympics...will ever get better than Rio de Janeiro...the Wonderful City.... with its sun-drenched beaches and dunes, scenic beauty, great samba music, hospitable and friendly folks and wonderful sporting faciltiies? These demonically driven cariocas will do everything to provide snow in this tropical hot Rio setting! Just chill out!
    I used my heart and head in voting for Rio!!!

    October 2, 2009 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  38. Kwantin

    Africa is next.

    October 2, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  39. Jorge Mendonça


    October 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  40. lamimi

    Rio should be given a chance to host the games in order to give a fair distribution of the games through out the world continents

    October 2, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  41. Martina

    RIO 2016....
    wiht heart...wiht head!
    Let´s go Brazil and South Amercia...we deserved!

    October 2, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  42. Kate

    Cheers for Rio on its win! It's time for the Games to move to South America (and later to South Africa if they perform well on the World Cup).

    The fact that the USA entry failed to garner even one single vote (apparently including the USA member of the IOC) shows how detested the USA is worldwide, and not without some reason. Billy Payne destroyed the Atlanta Games and any respect for the USA as a host, and the penchant of the US government for invasion and occupation of other countries has chilled its welcome in the world community.

    I'm just sad that the message to US citizens is clear: don't come to the Games, where you aren't welcome anymore.

    October 2, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  43. bwana

    Nice to see international support for the USA is so "good"?! I would have expected Chicago to be the bottom of the list... even with the Pres. supporting the bid. The global community just doesn't see the USA as worthy!

    October 2, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Reply
  44. Jairo

    Come to Rio and win a "Lead Medal" made by the drug dealears bullets, the real government in the city.

    I am desolate, my city deserves a better future.

    🙁 🙁 🙁


    October 2, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Reply
  45. RAMIRO


    October 2, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  46. nwuruku

    it has been cast to Rio which means that the public is vindicated, I love Rio for their preparednes and also her argumente for the continent. i wish i will be there in 2016.

    October 2, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  47. MLW

    Perhaps President Obama was naive to think he could sway Olympic Committee members with an in person visit. The world is corrupt. Why do we think the voting is not corrupt.

    October 20, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Reply
  48. Steve

    Who ARE these USADA 'officials' that somehow remain 'nameless' that keep bringing 'doping' charges?

    Lance Armstrong has been tested over 500 times for every kind of doping imaginable for 15 years, by the French, who would LOVE to see him busted: the the US dept. of Justice and a Grand Jury.

    He has NEVER failed a drug test even after recovering from cancer. He is one of America's GREATEST athletics who now runs non-profit charities.

    Because of the 'ALLEGATIONS' he is now prevented from competing in an Iron Man Competition for which he as been training for years.

    WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? They remain NAMELESS while trying to discredit Armstrong?. I want to know WHO they are and I want them OUT of their positions.

    Every American should join in this effort to get rid of these punitive bureaucrats who use the testimony of CONVICTED dopers to keep indicting ARMSTRONG.

    These ARE these McCarthy characters right out of the Fifties. They need to be exposed and ELIMINATED from the cycling world and the world of athletics entirely.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  49. Keith Ketlewell

    I think it should be remembered that there actually are people who are simply not interested i thwe Olympics or any other spactator sports . I am one . Frankly I am bored with all the hype already .
    For those who are enthrawled by the Olympics good luck to them . As it happens I am not interested in watching any sport and resent with a vengence having to fork out for other peoples pleasure with this event . It's like asking me to pay for other peoples seats at football , cricket , tennis matches et al .

    July 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Reply

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