The 32nd Olympic Games will be in Tokyo.
The Japanese capital won a final-round vote over Istanbul and will host an Olympics for the second time in 2020. Tokyo also held the Games in 1964.
“The Games of the 32nd Olympiad in 2020 are awarded to the city of … ,” International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said as he opened the envelope in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “Tokyo.”
Japan last hosted an Olympics in 1998 when Nagano had the Winter Games. Turkey had never hosted the Olympics. The other finalist, Madrid, was eliminated in the first round of voting.
Tokyo also won the first round of voting, but did not get a majority, so a second round had to be held between Tokyo and the second-place city. Istanbul and Madrid tied for second place, so there was a tiebreaking vote between the two to see which would advance. That vote was won by Istanbul, which got 49 votes to Madrid’s 45.
It is interesting that the tiebreaking vote was so close since, essentially, it was determined by the pro-Tokyo voters. If the Tokyo supporters were under a consensus as to which bid would be a preferred final-round opponent, it was not apparent in that slim four-vote margin.
Madrid’s elimination could be seen as a positive for Paris and Rome, two cities showing interest in the 2024 Olympics. The U.S. has been gauging interest in a possible 2024 bid and is expected to pick a city, if it chooses a bid, by the end of next year.
Tokyo’s win could be seen as a positive for baseball and softball, which is competing with squash and wrestling for one open spot in the 2020 and 2024 Olympics. Baseball and softball are very popular in Japan. That vote comes Sunday.
Tokyo, the second of the three cities to make final presentations to the IOC on Saturday, spoke amid the backdrop of a slogan, “discover tomorrow.”
The Japanese imperial family made a rare appearance at an event such as an IOC session. Princess Takamado led the presentation.
“This may be the first time a member our family has addressed you, but the imperial family of Japan has always been active in sports,” she said.
Paralympian Mami Sato delivered an emotional speech, telling the story of how she was “saved by sport” after losing her right leg due to cancer at 19 years old. The 2011 tsunami and earthquake damaged her hometown, and she said she didn’t know for six days if the rest of her family was alive.
Tokyo 2020 also mentioned its clean record free of doping, illegal betting and match fixing. It mentioned three values — celebration, innovation and delivery — that add up to one word, “opportunity.”
Tokyo came in third place in the voting for 2016 but said it bettered its bid with a new Olympic stadium plan, where “every athlete can have a seat” for the opening ceremony. It said the Olympic village is bigger and in a better place, with a bed for every athlete.
“We have kept the best and improved the rest,” said a smiling Masato Mizuno, CEO of the bid committee.
Japanese TV presenter Christel Takigawa spoke of Tokyo’s “selfless hospitality,” which dates to its ancestors, mentioning that $30 million in lost money was turned into police last year.
“If you lose something, you will almost certainly get it back,” Takigawa said.
In the question-and-answer session, it was asked about the recent leak of radiation-contaminated water at the Fukushima nuclear plant, 155 miles north of Tokyo. It marked the fifth and largest leak from the plant damaged by the 2011 tsunami.
“Let me assure you the situation is under control,” Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said. ”It has never done and will never do any damage to Tokyo.”