Rio wins right to host the 2016 Olympics

APTOPIX Brazil 2016 Bids

Rio fans celebrate after their city made it through another round for the nomination of host city for the 2016 Olympics at the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Friday, Oct. 2, 2009. Rio de Janeiro, represented in Copenhagen by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva , delivered a passionate appeal for South America to be awarded the Olympics for the first time. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

Oct 2, 1:44 PM EDT

Rio wins right to host the 2016 Olympics

By JOHN LEICESTER

COPENHAGEN (AP) — Finally, South America gets an Olympics. The 2016 Games are going to Rio de Janeiro.

In a vote of high drama, the bustling Brazilian carnival city of beaches, mountains and samba beat surprise finalist Madrid, which got a big helping hand from a very influential friend.

Chicago was knocked out in the first round – in one of the most shocking defeats ever in International Olympic Committee voting. Even Tokyo, which had trailed throughout the race, did better – eliminated after Chicago in the second round.

Rio spoke to IOC members’ consciences: the city argued that it was simply unfair that South America has never hosted the games, while Europe, Asia and North America have done so repeatedly.

“It is a time to address this imbalance,” Brazil’s charismatic president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, told the IOC’s members before they voted. “It is time to light the Olympic cauldron in a tropical country.”

via News from The Associated Press.