BUENOS AIRES – In a climate of political and economic uncertainty, following a bit of risk-taking by awarding Games to Sochi and Rio de Janiero, the International Olympic Committee opted for a "safe pair of hands" by selecting Tokyo to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Japan's capital beat bids by Istanbul and Madrid on Saturday.
In the first round of IOC voting, Tokyo received the most votes and progressed to the next round, while Madrid and Istanbul went to a tiebreaker. Madrid was eliminated by four votes.
With an economy in crisis – a 26.3% unemployment rate, which balloons to more than 50% for young people, Madrid failed to convince the IOC's 95 voters of its stability. Madrid failed to advance even with 80% of its of venues already in place (thanks to two previously failed bids and the smallest construction budget -- $1.9 billion -- of the three cities). Istanbul's was $19 billion.
Even with an austere budget (at least compared to Sochi's $50 billion expenditures) and the promise of no white elephants and a persuasive prince, Madrid was unable to distance itself from the competition.
Spanish Twitter users immediately resorted to a bit of Olympic gallows humor, tweeting about Madrid 2984 or Madrid 3020. It's the fourth time the city has failed in its bid (1972, 2012, 2016, 2020).