Chicago, Tokyo Lose Out As Olympic Sites

The International Olympic Committee has eliminated Chicago and Tokyo as candidates to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, despite a last-minute trip by President Obama to lobby for Chicago. The competition comes down to Rio de Janeiro and Madrid.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

President Obama's quick trip to Copenhagen didn't do the trick for his hometown. Minutes ago, Chicago was eliminated from competition for putting on the Olympics of 2016, of 2016. That's where the Olympic Committee was meeting this morning to decide who would, in fact, get the Olympics. The other city that was eliminated was Tokyo. NPR's Cheryl Corley is in Copenhagen, and she joins us now.

And what happened? Chicago was thought to be a real front-runner of the front-runners.

CHERYL CORLEY: Absolutely. It was just a really stunning blow to Chicago. They were knocked out in the very first round of voting. So they didn't even get to, you know, second or third place here. You know, they had brought in a lot of big, heavy star power, they thought, including the president, including Michelle Obama, who spent a couple of days here lobbying IOC members. And apparently, it was not enough to do the job.

MONTAGNE: Any reason, briefly, why you think they didn't put it over the top?

CORLEY: Well, I think that the two cities that remain in the race here have some very compelling arguments. Brazil's President Lula had come here to say that it was really time for South America to have these Games. They have - the continent - no country on the continent has ever hosted the Olympics before. Brazil has tried before to host them, and it says now is its time. It's ready to do so. And Lula and the Brazilians were very strong on that. And there was a very personal appeal made by the former IOC chief, Juan Antonio Samaranch, who said, look, I'm 89 years old. I really want you to consider Madrid as the place to host the 2016 Games. He's a very well-respected member here at the IOC, and I think that carried a lot of weight.

MONTAGNE: Thanks very much, Cheryl. That's NPR's Cheryl Corley in Copenhagen, where the International Olympic Committee will decide between Rio de Janeiro and Madrid now as the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games. Chicago and Tokyo have been eliminated.

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