Rio Upsets Chicago With Olympic Win

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Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach exploded with cheers at the news the Brazilian city had been chosen by the International Olympic Committee to host the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. 

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was ecstatic over the victory.

"I confess to you if I die right now my life would have been worth it," Silva said. "No one can now doubt the strength of Brazil's economy, it's social greatness, and our ability to present a plan."

Chicago spent millions on its bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics and had the backing of President Barack Obama, but the International Olympic Committee was not won over.

Thousands of Chicago residents were silenced by the unexpected announcement that the city was the first of the four finalists to be eliminated.

It's a big blow to the Chicago delegation led by Obama.

Brazil's party went into overdrive with the announcement that Rio will be the first city in South America ever to host the Olympics.

Rio won against competing bids from Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago. The biggest surprise was that in spite of Chicago's high-powered delegation led by President Obama, the first lady and Oprah Winfrey, Chicago was eliminated in the first round of voting. Still, the first family gave it their best effort.

"Today, I can dream, and I am dreaming of an Olympic and Paralympic games in Chicago that will light up lives and neighborhoods all across America and all across the world," Mrs. Obama said before the vote.

"And we look forward to welcoming the world to the shores of Lake Michigan and the heartland of our nation in 2016," President Obama added.

Still, that won't happen while Obama is in the White House. His plea and a slick ad campaign weren't enough to sway the IOC.

A Chicago Tribune poll showed that only 47 percent supported the city's Olympic bid. About 45 percent opposed it and some even took to the streets to protest.

The Brazilians will have to take the financial risk for the games, which are expected to cost around $5 billion.

President Obama got the news about Rio as he was flying back to Washington.

Senior advisor David Axelrod said the president just couldn't overcome the "politics in the room" during the committee vote.

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.