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Chicago Loses Out On Olympics as Games Head for Rio

Despite a high-profile push by President Obama and others, Chicago will not host the 2016 summer games. The Olympic Torch will instead land in Rio de Janeiro. Ray Suarez reports on the story and talks to sports writer Christine Brennan.

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    Chicago lost its bid to Rio. Ray Suarez has our story.

    JACQUES ROGGE, president, International Olympic Committee: I have the honor to announce that the games of the 31st Olympiad are awarded to the city of Rio de Janeiro.


    Cheers erupted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, today, as the city won the honor of hosting the 2016 Olympic Games. A wave of national pride splashed across the beach in Copacabana.

    In the final round of voting by the International Olympic Committee, Rio crushed its competition, Madrid, with a vote of 66 to 32.

    2016 will be a first: The Olympic Games have never been held in South America. Brazil's committee touted that fact as a major selling point.

    Madrid and Tokyo were among the world cities disappointed by Brazil's victory, but the biggest upset was an American one.


    The city of Chicago, having obtained the least number of votes, will not participate in the next round.


    Some booed and others stood in stunned silence at Daley Plaza in Chicago when word came that the Windy City was eliminated in the first round. Thousands had lined up early this morning hoping for great news.

    MEREDITH CLARK, Chicago resident: I'm really proud to be a Chicagoan, and I'm upset that people aren't going to be able witness that in 2016.


    Why do you think this happened? Any ideas?


    I have no idea. It's complete shock.


    Reporter Eddie Arruza of Chicago Public Television station WTTW was there.


    Thousands of supporters turned out to cheer for the city, but what was not anticipated was that Chicago would be eliminated in the very first round. And now there are many questions being asked about what went wrong.


    Chicago's failure was not for lack of trying. Ads like this one were part of a huge campaign put together to showcase the city's many charms.

    But the highlight of Chicago's push was a personal effort by President Obama. He flew overnight to join the first lady in Copenhagen today for a last-minute, high-level presentation on behalf of his adopted hometown.


    I urge you to choose Chicago. I urge you to choose America. And if you do, if we walk this path together, then I promise you this: The city of Chicago and the United States of America will make the world proud.

    MICHELLE OBAMA, First Lady of the United States: 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.


    The president got the bad news as he returned to Washington aboard Air Force One. At the White House, he praised Chicago's efforts to win the games.


    I have no doubt that it was the strongest bid possible, and I'm proud that I was able to come in and help make that case in person. I believe it's always a worthwhile endeavor to promote and boost the United States of America.


    Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, speaking to reporters this afternoon, was grateful and defended President Obama's support.

    RICHARD DALEY, mayor, Chicago: This was not a political gamble; this was not a political adventure. This was a commitment on behalf of the city, on behalf of the people of our city, on behalf of America to try to get the Olympics and Paralympics in 2016.


    After winning in Denmark today, Brazil's president was ecstatic.

    LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA, president, Brazil (through translator): Brazil needed these Olympics. Brazil has always been a great country. The Brazilian people are extraordinary, and they deserve this opportunity.


    But jubilation in Brazil does not reflect the challenges it faces in a long sprint to prepare for the games. Along with stunning beaches and scenic mountains, Rio is plagued by serious crime, pollution, and infrastructure problems, not to mention frequent clashes between drug lords and police. Billions will be spent to ensure the area is ready for the world to arrive in 2016.

    After the selection was announced, I spoke to Christine Brennan, who covers the Olympics for USA Today and ABC News.

    Well, even the most pessimistic forecasts didn't have Chicago finishing last, at the bottom of the deck. What happened?