Former Olympic athletes Hiromi Miyake (C) and Yoshiyuki Miyake (R) cheer in support of Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games with the other audience, during the viewing of 2020 Summer Olympic Games host city announcement at Tosho Hall on September 8, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
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.
Istanbul entered voting with its chances fading following anti-government protests in June and a slew of doping scandals. Turkish IOC member Ugur Erdener promised that Turkey "will continue to enforce our zero-tolerance policy on doping."
"We understand that there is no gain without pain. Now we have a very organized anti-doping organization," Erdener said about its two-year-old doping agency.
After bold moves to take the Olympics to new places, the IOC is returning to Japan for the first time since 1998, when the country hosted the Winter Games in Nagano. Sochi will host the next Winter Games in February -- the first Winter Olympics to be held in Russia. Two years later, the Games will be held in South America for the first time. Just two years after Brazil hosts the World Cup, the 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro.
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).