Tokyo Will Host 2020 Olympics

Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics after beating out Istanbul and Madrid for the honor. The International Olympic Committee made the announcement on Saturday.

The Japanese capital last hosted the Olympics in 1964, but it worried it may not make the cut in light of the nuclear fallout from a 2011 earthquake and tsunami that laid waste to much of the country.

Madrid entered Saturday’s vote as a finalist. But The Washington Post reports that the city was eliminated in the first round of voting. It was the third time the Spanish city entered a bid.

In the end, Istanbul received 36 votes and Tokyo received 60 during the final round of secret balloting. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be the first games in Japan since the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.

IOC President Jacques Rogue made the announcement in Buenos Aires. CNN notes notes that Tokyo was picked for its experience in organizing major events, along with its sense of economic security.

Tokyo’s government has already collected $4.9 billion in an Olympic fund to prepare for the 2020 games. A $1 billion national stadium also will already be built to host athletic events and the Opening Ceremonies. The stadium’s initial purpose was for the rugby World Cup in 2017, so it is not an Olympic expense.

If Istanbul had won their bid, it would have been the first time a Muslim country had hosted the games. Turkey would also have been one of the youngest, as its median population is less than 30 years. But it was passed over for a fifth time.

While Tokyo’s bid may have been hampered by the radiation troubles at Fukushima, it is possible that Istanbul’s also took a hit because of June’s riots in Taksim Square.

It wasn’t a surprise to see Tokyo come out ahead, as it received the most votes in the initial round. However, it came short of a majority. Because of this, a second round pitted Istandbul and Madrid against each other, with the winner going up against Tokyo in a third ballot.

Despite winning its bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tokyo will likely still face worries about getting its nuclear problems under control before millions of people arrive.

[Image via Sergei Bachlakov / Shutterstock.com]