The Eyes of the World Will Once Again Be Fixed on Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics

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With the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup behind us, the next major international sporting event is poised to take place in 2016. After a series of meetings and votes that took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) finally settled on Rio de Janeiro as the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics. 

How the IOC Votes for Host Cities

Five years ago, the voting for a city to host the 2016 Summer Olympic games took place in Copenhagen at the meeting of the 121st IOC Session. But before we take a look at the votes from this session, we should gain an understanding of the process leading up to the vote. 

Nine years before an Olympic games are scheduled to take place, the IOC begins taking applications from cities around the world that wish to host the games. The cities make presentations to the IOC and provide themes, layouts of stadiums, and many other documents to the committee for review. At about eight years before the Olympic games, the IOC reviews the cities and selects the top four to move on to the candidate stage of the process. During this stage, each city provides even more information on their plans and members of the IOC travel to each city to do their own evaluation of the city's readiness and ability to host a world class event.[6]

The candidate stage of selecting a host city for the Olympic games usually lasts one year and concludes with the IOC holding a final meeting to vote on the candidates. Some celebrities or political figures usually fly in to witness the voting results and to support their candidate city. During the 121st IOC session in Copenhagen, Denmark, President Barack Obama and the First Lady flew in to support Chicago's bid for host city.[1] Since President Obama was Senator of Illinois before being elected to the presidency, it is little surprise that he flew to Copenhagen to support Chicago. There are three rounds of voting that takes place. After each round, the city with the lowest number of votes is eliminated from the lineup. Here is what the voting looked like at the 121st IOC session in Copenhagen:[3]

                                      Round 1              Round 2               Round 3

Chicago:                           18

Tokyo:                              22                          20

Rio de Janeiro:               26                           46                        66 

Madrid:                           28                          29                          32

As you can see from the voting, Madrid won the first round, but Rio left no room for doubt that they were the favored city in rounds 2 and 3. 

After the voting is completed and a city has been chosen, the host city has seven years to make preparations for the Olympic games. 

Several Facts about the 2016 Summer Olympic Games


1. These are the first Olympic games to be held in a South American country.

2. The IOC has recently decided to allow golf back into the XXXI Olympiad. *Golf has not been included in the Olympic games since the second and third Olympics held in 1900 and 1904 respectively.[5]

3. According to a CNN report, NBC bought broadcasting rights for all Olympic games taking place before 2022 at a cost of $4.38 billion. NBC had to outbid ESPN and FOX to win their rights to exclusive coverage.[2]

4. Rio will be utilizing many of the stadiums built for the 2014 FIFA World Cup to host several XXXI Olympiad events.

Problems Surrounding Preparation for the XXXI Olympiad

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IOC Vice President John Coates said that Brazil's preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics were “the worst I have experienced.” Apparently, Brazil is far behind schedule and causing a bit of alarm in the Olympic community. With the Olympics only two years away, there is little time to complete all of the necessary projects in order to properly host the XXXI Olympiad.

There have been rumors that a "plan B city" is being looked into just in case Rio is not ready in time. The plan B city would likely be London or Madrid, but it is highly unlikely that the IOC will decide to switch hosting cities this late in the process. The Olympic games have only been moved to an alternative host city, twice in the history of the games. Once in 1908 when the Summer Olympics were supposed to be held in Rome, but had to be moved to London due to a volcanic eruption outside Rome in 1906. The second occurrence was in 1976 when the Winter Olympic games had to be relocated from Denver, USA to Innsbruck, Austria due to local government issues in Denver.[4] 

FIFA World Cup Was a Fantastic Dress Rehearsal for Rio

Despite fears and concerns that Rio will not be ready in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics, they helped to silence many critics and put some concerns to rest by the way in which they handled the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Rio appears to thrive under pressure and lives for the passion of the moment. This can be seen in every aspect of their society, including the manner in which they prepare for hosting international sporting events. The FIFA World Cup championship was hosted in a professional and spectacular fashion. It seems safe to say that the 2016 Summer Olympics will also leave the world with an incredible experience of first class hosting from Brazil. They have proven themselves up to the task with the World Cup and should have not problem delivering a breathtaking display of sporting excellence when they host the XXXI Olympiad. 

We are still 740 days from the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics and I am already feeling the excitement building. As the world becomes more unified, sporting events that showcase each country's individual talents become increasingly entertaining and inspiring.  The display of talent at the XXXI Olympiad is set to deliver jaw-dropping exhibitions of athletic feats unlike those experienced at any other single sporting event. Who will be the next Michael Phelps? Who will be the next champion that captures our imaginations and takes the world by surprise? 700+ days...

Which sporting event are you most excited about witnessing in the 2016 Summer Olympics? How do you feel about the IOC's decision to have Rio host the XXXI Olympiad?

I will try to write a follow up article about the history of the Olympic sporting event that is mentioned the most by those commenting on this article so you can grow in your excitement, knowledge, and love of the Olympic games!