Rio de Janeiro streets and famous beaches were filled with joyous citizens at midday Friday to celebrate the selection of the city to host the 2016 Olympic Games, beating out Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid.
Brazil will thus become the first South American country to host the Olympics, after the city of Rio de Janeiro was chosen to stage the Games.
Rio won a majority of the 95 votes at the meeting in Copenhagen, eliminating Madrid in the final round. Tokyo and Chicago had been knocked out earlier.
Earlier, Brazil's president Lula da Silva told IOC members "it was time to light the Olympic flame in a tropical country". After the announcement,
Lula, soccer legend Pelé and apparently every Brazilian in Copenhagen could not contain the tears of joy. The Brazilian president would not stop crying during a press conference while Carlos Arthur Nuzmann, president of the COB (Brazilian Olympic Committee) was talking.
He explained to the journalists touched by his compulsive crying: "I cried now because I didn't have the courage to cry during he presentation when the result was announced."
Chicago's early exit was a surprise, with bookmakers making them favorites, since First Lady Michelle Obama sponsored in a passionate speech appealing to her family, the presentation of windy city.
Rio's presentation to the International Olympic Committee delivered a passionate appeal for South America to be awarded the Games.
President Lula told the meeting: "Rio is ready. Give us this chance and you will not regret it."
"Rio will deliver unforgettable Games. You will see for yourselves the passion, the energy and the creativity of the Brazilian people."
Lula said 2016 was an opportunity for the IOC to show that the Games belonged to people of all continents.
"I truly believe this is Brazil's time. For the others, it would be just another Games," he added.
"It will not be just Brazil's Games but South America's. It will serve to inspire the 180 million young people on the continent. It is time to redress the balance".
In anticipation of a favorable outcome Lula had decreed a half day holiday.
Madrid's surprising success in reaching the final round came after former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch made an emotional appeal for votes.
"I know that I am very near the end of my time. I am, as you know 89 years old. May I ask you to consider granting my country the honor and also the duty to organize the games in 2016," he said.
At Spain's presentation King Juan Carlos spoke of the Olympic tradition of the royal family and President Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero underlined that Spain has one of the most updated and toughest legislation in sports doping.
Spaniards who were preparing to celebrate, had to cancel all festivities.
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