Update 1:26 p.m. Tokyo is it
Tokyo has been chosen to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games, the IOC said in an announcement that was streamed live online Saturday afternoon.
In selecting Tokyo, IOC officials ended a recent trend that has favored holding the Olympics in cities or regions that have not previously hosted the games. Tokyo hosted the Olympics in 1964; the Winter Games were held in Nagano in 1998.
But Tokyo officials also promoted their city's bid as symbolizing a new chapter for Japan, which is still recuperating from the tsunami and earthquake that devastated swaths of the country in 2011. Organizers have said they plan to have Olympic torchbearers run through areas hit by the tsunami.
After the initial round of voting, Istanbul won a run-off over Madrid, leaving Tokyo firmly in the favored spot.
Previously: Will Istanbul or Tokyo host the 2020 Olympics? That question will be answered today by the International Olympic Committee, which is meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Rival city Madrid was eliminated in the first round of voting Saturday.
Officials from the three cities made their final pitches Saturday.
As of earlier this week, oddsmakers saw Tokyo as a slight favorite to win. All of the finalists have submitted recent bids to host the Olympics. And all three were widely seen as having flaws that endanger their chances:
- Istanbul saw a crackdown on anti-government protesters in June; last month, 31 Turkish athletes were suspended for doping. And worries over regional crises may play a role.
- Tokyo officials have sought to reassure Olympic representatives that their venue is free from any ill effects from recent radioactive leaks at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
- Madrid has pursued its bid under the cloud of Spain's ailing economy and high unemployment rate, as well as its own doping problems.
Bids from the cities of Baku, Azerbaijan, and Doha, Qatar, were not selected for the final round.
In coming days, the IOC meetings will also produce the final list of sports that will be part of the 2020 Games. Wrestling, squash, and a combined bid from baseball and softball are in contention for one remaining slot. And IOC officials will also select a new president to replace the outgoing Jacques Rogge.