Olympics 2020: Tokyo wins race to host Games

 

Tokyo has been chosen to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games ahead of Istanbul and Madrid.

The Japanese capital won a final round of voting by International Olympic Committee (IOC) members in Buenos Aires to beat Istanbul by 60 votes to 36.

Madrid had earlier been eliminated in a first-round ballot.

Analysis

There were huge scenes of celebration from the Tokyo delegation - it means a huge amount to them.

There are always frontrunners and outsiders in any bidding process but what went on here in the last few days and hours proved decisive.

Madrid appeared to have the momentum but Tokyo's presentation was wholly impressive.

The announcement was met with jubilant scenes in Japan, as Tokyo prepares to host the event for the first time since 1964.

When IOC president Jacques Rogge - who will retire after 12 years in the role on Tuesday - announced the winning city, the Tokyo delegation jumped to their feet in celebration and waved the Japan flag.

A number of them were overcome with emotion and wept, following two years of intense lobbying.

"I would like to thank everyone in the Olympic movement and we will host a wonderful Olympic Games," a delighted Prime Minster Shinzo Abe said.

Bid leader Tsunekazu Takeda added: "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."

London mayor Boris Johnson sent "huge congratulations to Tokyo for winning the honour of hosting the greatest sporting spectacular on the planet".

He continued: "I am sure that, like London, your great city will put on an extraordinary event. This is a magical moment of celebration to savour before the years of hard work ahead."

Tokyo residents celebrate at Komazawa Olympic Park

Tokyo residents greeted the announcement with jubilant scenes at Komazawa Olympic Park

The decision means Tokyo - which campaigned with the message that "the Olympics will be safe in our hands" - will become the first Asian city to host the Games twice.

They were also awarded the event in 1940 but the Games were cancelled because of World War II.

The success of the Tokyo bid followed a personal address from the Japanese prime minister during the presentation stage, in which he allayed fears over the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant 150 miles (240km) from the city by saying: "It has never done, and will never do, any damage to Tokyo."

The plant had been leaking radiation after an earthquake and tsunami hit the north east of the country in 2011.

"I cannot believe it," Japanese fencing Olympic silver medallist Yuki Ota told BBC Sport. "A thousand times I imagined Jacques Rogge opening the paper - it has become a reality.

"After the earthquake everyone in Japan was depressed but now we have to make a dream come true."

Olympic hosts since 1972

Olympic rings
  • 1972: Munich, West Germany
  • 1976: Montreal, Canada
  • 1980: Moscow, Soviet Union
  • 1984: Los Angeles, US
  • 1988: Seoul, South Korea
  • 1992: Barcelona, Spain
  • 1996: Atlanta, US
  • 2000: Sydney, Australia
  • 2004: Athens, Greece
  • 2008: Beijing, China
  • 2012: London, UK
  • 2016: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 2020: Tokyo, Japan

The prime minister's presentation also revealed the role sport had played in boosting the country in the past two years and pointed out that no Japanese athlete had failed a drugs test at an Olympics or Paralympics.

It added sponsorship would reach record levels and 10 new permanent sports venues would be constructed, including the Olympic Stadium, which will be finished by 2019 in time to host the Rugby World Cup.

For Istanbul, their campaign had not been able to overcome concerns about serious political unrest in the country, a series of doping scandals among the country's athletes, the jailing of political opponents and journalists, plus the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had flown to Buenos Aires from the G20 summit in Russia to argue the Turkish city's case.

But his efforts were to no avail, and Istanbul registered its fifth failed bid. If it had been successful, it would have been the first Games in a predominantly Muslim country.

In Madrid, tens of thousands of people were left dejected in the city's Puerta de Alcala square when the news was announced that it had failed for a third straight time to win the summer Games.

The Spanish capital's presentation - which featured former Olympic sailor Crown Prince Felipe - had emphasised providing a "sensible, reliable and trustworthy" Olympics but ongoing worries about the economy undermined the bid, along with the recent Operation Puerto doping scandal.