Tokyo beats Madrid, Istanbul to host 2020 Summer Olympic Games


BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - SEPTEMBER 07: Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe (3L) celebrates with the delegation as Tokyo is awarded the 2020 Summer Olympic Games during the 125th IOC Session. Tokyo was selected over rival cities Madrid and Istanbul.



Tokyo beat out its rivals to win the bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

The Japanese capital was seen as a "safe pair of hands" by members of the International Olympic Committee, who chose it over Istanbul in the final round of voting.

"The Games of the 32nd Olympiad in 2020 are awarded to the city of … ," IOC president Jacques Rogge said as he opened the envelope in Buenos Aires, Argentina. "Tokyo."

The Japanese delegation erupted into cheers and applause when the results were read.

The third potential city, Madrid, was eliminated in an earlier round.

The 2020 Games will be Japan's third time as a host country. Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Games and the 1998 Winter Games were held in Nagano.

"Tokyo is one of the world's most fascinating cities, and will provide a spectacular setting for the 2020 Olympic Games," NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus said in a statement.

Istanbul lost out on its fifth attempt to host the Games.

The city proposed the most expensive bid of the three potential hosts at $19 billion, according to, which covers the business and politics of the Olympic movement.

Istanbul would have been the first predominantly Muslim country to host the Games but the sheer number of infrastructure improvements made the bid too costly and uncertain.

Istanbul would need to spend billions to build new sports arenas and modernize its transportation system.

The ongoing conflict in neighboring Syria was also of concern.

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Madrid was seen as a serious contender going into the negotiations but it didn't last long in the actual voting process.

Madrid's bid came in as the second lowest — at $2 billion — because Spain would need very little construction to accommodate the Games. It already has a good transportation system and has hosted large international sporting events in the past.

But concerns over economic stability and high unemployment rate were enough to drag down their chances of being picked.

Tokyo may have been the best option but it has its own concerns.

Recent reports of radiation leaks from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant had IOC members questioning whether Tokyo, at 155 miles away, would be affected.

"Let me assure you the situation is under control," Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said to the IOC. "It has never done and will never do any damage to Tokyo."

The vote will mean that Asia will host back-to-back Games in 2018 and 2020. Pyeongchang, South Korea will host the 2018 Winter Games.

Watch Tokyo's plan for the 2020 Olympic venues: