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Rio de Janeiro gets 2016 Summer Olympics

The International Olympic Committee awarded the 2016 Summer Games to Rio de Janeiro on a Friday of surprises in Copenhagen that included the ouster of Chicago in first-round balloting.

Chicago eliminated in 1st round of balloting

South America will become a first-time host of the Summer Olympics in 2016.

The International Olympic Committee awarded the 2016 Games to Rio de Janeiro on a Friday of surprises in Copenhagen that included the ouster of Chicago in first-round balloting.

In Rio, nearly 50,000 people erupted in celebration, jumping and cheering in a carnival-like party on Copacabana beach. The party was expected to go well into the night, and officials said the crowd would easily surpass 100,000 people.

Madrid was the other finalist and lost by a 66-32 count to Rio on the third and final ballot. The fact the Summer Olympics are in London, England, in 2012 probably worked against its bid.

Brazil presented 'the passion' of its people

Tokyo, host of the Games in 1964, was eliminated in Round 2 on Friday after collecting just 20 of 97 eligible votes.

"The other countries made proposals," said Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. "We presented a heart, a soul, and the passion of Brazil's people."

Shocker in Chicago

Ken Rudd, a 33-year-old salesman from the Chicago suburb of Evergreen Park, says it's one of the saddest things he's ever seen.

It was his immediate reaction Friday after the International Olympic Committee announced in Copenhagen that Chicago had been eliminated in first-round balloting in the race to host the 2016 Summer Games.

The Windy City, considered a favourite to be one of two finalists, mustered only 18 of a possible 95 votes. Rio de Janeiro prevailed with 66 votes to Madrid's 32 on the third and final ballot.

The Chicago result, one of the biggest upsets in IOC voting history, sent shock waves through the IOC.

"Either it was tactical voting or a lot of people decided not to vote for Chicago," said Gerhard Heiberg, an IOC executive board member.

Some IOC members theorized that a few voters who liked Chicago actually voted for Tokyo in the first round, figuring the American city would get through easily and not wanting the Japanese capital to be embarrassed.

"I'm shocked and disappointed that this would happen to the United States," senior Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper said. "I can only think it must have been an accident or mishap in preliminary thinking by an Asian constituency."

In recent days, Chicago seemed to have gained momentum with the presence of U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in Denmark. However, former IOC member Kai Holm said the brevity of Obama's appearance may have counted against him.

Silva, who celebrated in Denmark with soccer great Pele, called the victory a "sacred day" in an interview with Brazilian reporters while the Cariocas, as Rio citizens are known, raised their arms to celebrate on Copacabana, frantically waving flags and hugging each other.

Rio was also unsuccessful in its Olympic bids for 1936, 2004 and 2012.

This time, Canadian Olympic Committee CEO Chris Rudge said members of the Rio committee worked very hard.

"They did an outstanding job, I thought, with the [Pan American] Games in 2007," Rudge, who touched down in Copenhagen moments before the U.S. was eliminated, told CBCSports.ca.

"They demonstrated they could run a big event. They demonstrated they can deal with the skepticism around safety and transportation, and they built some world-class venues."

World-famous backdrops

Sueli Ferreira, who was sporting a hat with the Brazilian colours — green, yellow, white and blue — said Friday's victory is huge for Rio and for the entire country.

"It's going to be good for the economy, good for the people," said Ferreira, 67. "This gives us hope that things will be better here."

The Games will take place against impressive backdrops — Rio's stunning beaches and famous landmarks, including the Sugar Loaf mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue.

"One of the advantages Rio has over probably any other city in the world is it doesn't matter what happens, the city is so beautiful, the people are so nice and everything is so attractive that at the end of the day you say, 'So what, I had a fantastic time.'

"It's probably as beautiful a city as there is in the world and nobody has more fun than the people in the community of Rio," Ferreira said.

Crime and security big concerns

The biggest problems for Rio are crime and security, according to Michael Drapack, a news producer with CBC's The National.

"Streets are regularly closed because of shootouts and gunfights on subways are not uncommon," Drapack wrote in his latest blog on CBCSports.ca. "The IOC was kind in its evaluation report when it noted Rio's "public safety challenges."

Rudge, who did business in Rio several years ago, before entering the sporting world, is less concerned about the crime and safety in the city, saying there were "absolutely no issues at the Pan American Games" in 2007.

To enhance its bid, Rio brought its own superstar to the showdown — Pele, the widely acknowledged "King of Soccer." He reminded voters this was the fourth time Brazil has tried for the Olympics, and the people of his country support the effort at the grassroots level.

The fact Brazil will stage the FIFA World Cup in 2014 ensures the entire country will mobilize and be ready well in advance of the Olympic cauldron being lit, said Scott Russell of CBC Sports.

Chicago's chances might also have been hampered by events of the past: the bribery scandal in Salt Lake City in 2002, and logistical problems and a bombing at the Atlanta Olympics six years earlier.

Choosing hosts from South America, Africa or other parts of the world that have never held the Games has been the mission of International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.

Tokyo's bid also faced a major obstacle given the Olympics were held in Asia last year — in Beijing.

Japanese officials offered reassurances of financial security, with $4 billion US already banked for the Games.

Tokyo's final presentation on Friday, while smooth and heartfelt, lacked the buzz generated by the Obamas and Rio.

With files from The Associated Press

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