Bids for the 2016 Summer Olympics

Bids for the 2016 Summer Olympics

Bids for the
2016 (2016) Summer Olympics and Paralympics
Games of the XXXI Olympiad
XV Paralympic Games
Logo of the campaign.
Rio de Janeiro
Madrid · Tokyo · Chicago
Committee IOC
Election venue Copenhagen
121st IOC Session
Location of the bidding cities
Location of the bidding cities
Important dates
First bid September 13, 2007
Second bid January 14, 2008
Shortlist June 4, 2008
Decision October 2, 2009
Winner Rio de Janeiro (66 votes)
Runner-up Madrid (32 votes)

Seven cities submitted bids for 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics on September 13, 2007, aiming to host the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.[1] All of them were recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on September 14, 2007, becoming Applicant cities.[2] Although several cities submitted to be in consideration to host the 2016 Olympics, including New York City and Los Angeles, on June 4, 2008, the IOC Executive Board shortlisted the four strongest bids to become Candidate cities. Those cities were Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo; the decisions were made during a meeting in Athens, Greece.[3][4] The remaining Applicant cities—Baku, Doha and Prague—were eliminated.[5]

The four Candidate cities were selected according to a detailed study of the Applicant Files received by the IOC Working Group on January 14, 2008.[6] The four cities submitted the Candidature Files to the IOC on February 11, 2009.[7] They were analyzed by the IOC Evaluation Commission, which made site inspections in Chicago (April 4–7, 2009), Tokyo (April 16–19, 2009), Rio de Janeiro (April 27–May 2, 2009) and Madrid (May 5–8, 2009).[8] Under the leadership of Nawal El Moutawakel, the Evaluation Commission released its report on September 2, 2009; one month prior to the election.[9][10]

With the presence of the heads of state from all four Candidate cities, the 121st IOC Session took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, on October 2, 2009.[11] Chicago begun the presentations at Bella Center; followed by Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid; which were attended by several celebrities such as the King of Spain, Oprah Winfrey and Pelé.[12][13] Before the vote, the IOC Evaluation Commission presented its report to the Session.[12] Chicago fell in the first round, followed by Tokyo, after the eligible IOC members have been asked to vote, in a three-round exhaustive ballot process.[14][15]

Rio de Janeiro defeated Madrid in the final round by 66 votes over 32, winning the rights to host the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.[16][17] Brazil will be the first lusophone country and Rio de Janeiro the first city in South America to host the Summer Olympics.[18] The announcement was made by Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC, in a widely broadcast ceremony.[19] The lengthy and intensive bidding process, considered to be one of the tightest in history, was marked by several controversies such as espionage, racism and opposition movements.[20]

Out of the six cities that failed to be awarded the 2016 Olympics, four of them have bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Baku, Doha, Madrid and Tokyo were official Applicant Cities, with Madrid and Tokyo advancing to become Candidate Cities.

Bidding process

The Olympic bidding process begins with the submission of a city's application to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by its National Olympic Committee (NOC) and ends with the election of the host city by the members of the IOC during an ordinary session. The process is governed by the Olympic Charter, as stated in Chapter 5, Rule 34.[21]

Since 1999, the process has consisted of two phases. During the first phase, which begins immediately after the bid submission deadline, the "applicant cities" are required to answer a questionnaire covering themes of importance to a successful Games organization. This information allows the IOC to analyze the cities' hosting capacities and the strengths and weaknesses of their plans. Following a detailed study of the submitted questionnaires and ensuing reports, the IOC Executive Board selects the cities that are qualified to proceed to the next phase. The second phase is the true candidature stage: the accepted applicant cities (from now on referred to as "candidate cities") are required to submit a second questionnaire in the form of an extended, more detailed, candidature file.[22] These files are carefully studied by the IOC Evaluation Commission, a group composed of IOC members, representatives of international sport federations, NOCs, athletes, the International Paralympic Committee, and international experts in various fields.[23] The members of the Evaluation Commission then make four-day inspection visits to each of the candidate cities, where they check the proposed venues and are briefed about details of the themes covered in the candidature file. The Evaluation Commission communicates the results of its inspections in a report sent to the IOC members up to one month before the electing IOC Session.[22]

The IOC Session in which a host city is elected takes place in a country that did not submit an application to stage the Olympics.[22] The election is made by the assembled active IOC members (excluding honorary and honor members), each possessing one vote. Members from countries that have a city taking part in the election cannot vote while the city is in the running. The voting is conducted in a succession of rounds until one bid achieves an [26]


Application phase

A young girl adds her signature in support of Rio de Janeiro's candidacy to host the 2016 Olympic Gamed (January 2009)

The deadline to submit applications for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games was September 13, 2007. The seven cities that submitted bids before that date also met the January 14, 2008 deadline for submission of the first phase questionnaire.[27] Through analysis of the questionnaires, the IOC gave a weighted-average score to each city based on the scores obtained in each of the questionnaire's eleven themes: political and social support, general infrastructure, sports venues, Olympic Village, environment, accommodation, transport, security, past experience, finance, and legacy. If a bid's score was higher than six (IOC's predefined benchmark score), the city was considered highly capable of hosting the Games; otherwise, its chances were very slim.[28] On June 4, 2008, the IOC announced the cities accepted as candidates:[29] Four of the five highest-rated applicants progressed to the next phase as official candidate cities.[27] As stipulated, the IOC granted them the right to use the Olympic rings on their candidature emblem, together with a label identifying each as a Candidate City. The International Olympic Committee went against precedent when it selected Rio de Janeiro over Doha—a city which scored higher yet was eliminated from the field. Doha's weaknesses of a small population, lack of facilities, and Games dates outside of the IOC's desired window may have been too large an obstacle for the IOC to accept.[30] Typically, the IOC selects all the top scoring bids which reach the established minimum benchmark.

The Working Group divided the Evaluation Report on eleven detailed themes and weightings: Government support, legal issues and public opinion (2);[31] General infrastructure (5);[32] Sports venues (4);[33] Olympic Village(s) (3);[34] Environmental conditions and impact (2);[35] Accommodation (5);[36] Transport concept (3);[37] Safety and security (3);[38] Experience from past sports events (2);[39] Finance (3);[40] and, Overall project and legacy (3).[41] Weightings, varying between 1 and 5 (5 being the highest), were attributed by the Working Group to each criterion, reflecting the level of information requested of the Applicant Cities at this stage of the bid process, and the potential of achieving the level required for the organisation of the Olympic Games in the seven years' preparation time.[28] The Working Group set the benchmark at 6 as minimum required grade (on a scale of 0 to 10). This grade was attributed by the Working Group to the main and sub-criteria for each Applicant City, reflecting the assessment of the Working Group (quality, number, location, concept, etc.).[28]

Table of scores given by the IOC Working Group to assess the quality and feasibility of the 2016 Applicant cities[42]
Criteria Weight
Min Max Min Max Min Max Min Max Min Max Min Max Min Max
Accommodation 5 2.6 4.8 9.4 9.8 5.5 7.7 7.8 8.8 5.1 5.8 5.5 6.4 9.6 10.0
Environmental conditions and impact 2 4.2 6.0 6.0 8.0 6.4 8.2 7.4 8.8 5.4 7.4 5.6 7.6 7.6 8.8
Experience from past sports events 2 3.8 6.4 5.4 8.0 6.0 7.6 7.2 8.2 4.4 6.4 6.6 7.9 6.0 8.0
Finance 3 4.8 6.4 6.5 8.0 6.7 8.6 6.5 8.5 4.8 6.7 6.0 7.7 7.0 8.5
General infrastructure 5 3.8 5.6 5.5 7.4 5.5 7.5 7.9 8.9 4.2 6.0 5.3 7.2 7.6 8.9
Government support, legal issues and public opinion 3 5.7 7.4 6.2 7.9 7.0 8.7 7.5 9.0 4.3 6.7 7.3 8.8 7.0 8.5
Olympic Village(s) 3 6.8 8.1 7.0 8.6 6.9 8.6 7.4 8.7 4.9 7.2 6.0 7.7 7.5 8.9
Overall project and legacy 3 3.0 5.0 5.0 8.0 5.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 4.0 5.0 5.5 8.0 7.0 9.0
Safety and security 3 4.4 5.8 7.1 8.2 5.5 7.1 7.1 7.9 4.4 6.1 4.6 7.0 7.9 9.0
Sports venues 4 3.2 5.6 5.8 7.2 6.8 8.2 7.9 8.8 5.0 6.3 5.8 7.4 6.9 8.7
Transport concept 3 6.0 8.5 5.3 7.8 6.5 8.3 8.0 9.0 4.8 7.0 5.5 7.5 7.5 8.5
Total average 4.3 7.0 6.9 8.1 5.3 6.4 8.3

Candidature phase

Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco headed the Evaluation Commission. She also chaired the evaluation commission for the 2012 Summer Olympics bids. Other members include Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli, IOC Member Ching-Kuo Wu from Chinese Taipei, IOC Member Craig Reedie from Great Britain, IOC Member Guy Drut from France, IOC Member Mounir Sabet from Egypt, IOC Member and Athletes' Commission Representative Alexander Popov from Russia, IOC Member and ASOIF Representative Els van Breda Vriesman from The Netherlands and IPC Representative Gregory Hartung from Australia.

The Commission made on-site inspections in the second quarter of 2009. visiting Chicago April 2 to 8, Tokyo April 14 to 20, Rio de Janeiro April 27 to May 3, and Madrid May 4 to 9. In a change from previous years, the commission's visits were extended from four days to seven.[43] They issued a comprehensive technical appraisal for IOC members one month before the elections in October 2009.[44]


At the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 2, 2009, final voting took place. The final result and winner was announced as Rio de Janeiro at 18:49, Copenhagen time (16:49 UTC). The results were as shown:

2016 host city election ballots results

City NOC Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Ineligible members
Rio de Janeiro Brazil (COB) 26 46 66 Members from countries with candidate cities (7) Other IOC members (4)
Madrid Spain (COE) 28 29 32
Tokyo Japan (JOC) 22 20
Chicago United States (USOC) 18
Venue Vote details
Bella Center
121st IOC Session
October 2, 2009
Eligible members 95 97 99
Participants 94 96 98
Abstentions 0 1 0
Valid ballots 94 95 98

Bidding cities

Candidate cities

City Country National Olympic Committee Result
Rio de Janeiro  Brazil Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) Winner

[48] The compact footprint, complemented by Rio's topography, involves seven competition clusters in four Olympic zones—Barra, Copacabana, Deodoro, and Maracanã—, all held within the city. At the heart of the concept is the Barra zone, located in one of the newer and fastest growing regions of the city, framed by mountains, beaches and lagoons.[54] The logo was revealed on December 17, 2007, during the Brazil's Olympic Award ceremony at the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro, and was selected by a jury from among four finalists.[55] The BOC chose the Sugarloaf Mountain (Portuguese: Pão de Açucar), a prominent landmark of the city, as their symbol.[56] This landscape results in a heart shape that, in its turn, represents the Brazilian's unquestionable passion and enthusiasm for sports.[56]

Madrid  Spain Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) First runner-up

The same day London was chosen for organizing the 2012 Summer Olympics, the mayor of Madrid spoke of an interest to make a bid for the 2016 games. Considering its strong showing in the 2012 bidding, one year later, the city council unanimously voted for the submission of a new bid. In May 2007, mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón filed with the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE, Spanish: Comité Olímpico Español) as the only Spanish candidate for the Games.[57] The Spanish Field Hockey Federation vice-chairwoman Mercedes Coghen was chosen as chairwoman of the project. Former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch offered his help in this new attempt. Madrid benefited from its strong reputation from the 2012 bid as well as having 85% of venues in place and many experiences hosting Olympic qualifying events.[58] Later plans stressed two clusters of venues, one on the east side, the other along the Manzanares River.[59] The bid was also popular with the Madrileños, boasting 85% support and 60% believing they could win the bid.[60] One potential problem was that no continent has hosted successive Summer Games since 1952, when Helsinki followed London as host city. London is hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics, and Athens, Greece fielded the 2004 Summer Olympics. Furthermore, the 2014 Winter Olympics are also slated for Europe in the Russian city of Sochi, and the 2006 Winter Olympics were held in Turin, Italy. Bid head Coghen pointed out, however, that the IOC chooses "cities, not continents". The bid logo is a coloured hand print called "Corle" welcoming citizens to Madrid. An "m" is hidden in the palm standing for Madrid. It was selected via a public contest.

Tokyo  Japan Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) Second runner-up

The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) chose Tokyo over Fukuoka in August 2006.[61] Tokyo has recent experience with the success of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which Japan co-hosted with South Korea. Japan also has past Olympic experience as the host of the 1964 Games in Tokyo, the 1972 Winter Games in Sapporo, and the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano. Tokyo touted "the most compact and efficient Olympic Games ever" with a dramatic setting on the shores of Tokyo Bay. Similar to other past winning cities, Tokyo pledged to refurbish a run-down industrial area, and to reclaim land from the bay. Despite massive campaigning in trains, parks and street, Tokyo's public support trailed behind the other lead cities. It fell to 56% in May 2009,[62] from 62% in December 2007[63] and 72% in March 2008,.[64] While Tokyo continued its attempts to popularize the bid in high profile venues[65] and events, such as the Tokyo Marathon,[66] the Beijing Games were held nearby in 2008.[58] Specifically, the voting only one year after Beijing perhaps interfered with Tokyo's bid.[67] Tokyo's logo was a musubi, a traditional knot which signifies times of blessing, in this case using the Olympic colors. Tokyo was the second city eliminated, leaving Rio de Janeiro in the run-off against Madrid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Chicago  United States United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Third runner-up

On April 14, 2007, the Atlanta. Chicago has an extensive public transit system, a wide range of venues, and a strong sports culture.[69] The planned dramatic setting for Olympics on the shores of Lake Michigan, as well as the entirely urban experience were positive factors.[58] Chicago is one of few cities in the United States to host professional men and women's hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, and American football teams. Another benefit was the city's central location in the United States, since the Central Time Zone was well-suited to the North American television coverage for television networks and cable broadcasting, which in turn benefits NBC, the media company which pays the highest broadcasting rights to the IOC. Plans included a temporary Olympic Stadium in Washington Park on the city's South Side,[70] a swimming venue on the West Side, and a number of events at McCormick Place convention center and the lakeshore as well as the Olympic Village just south of the Loop. However, soaring demolition costs to the hospital currently on the site would have required a new site for the village.[71] 22 of the 27 Olympic venues would have been in four clusters within 15 km of the Olympic Village. Five new venues and eleven temporary venues would have been built for the games. The bid costs (US$49.3 million) were borne by the private sector. The cost of the infrastructure would have been financed by the government.[72] The bid was being promoted by Chicago-based media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Olympic champion Michael Phelps,[73][74] NBA superstar and former Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan, and by Chicago resident, U.S. President Barack Obama who attended the IOC vote in Copenhagen. However, local public support was smaller than other bidding cities[75] and the city press ran articles against the bid. Chicago was reported by US media to be the strongest contender in terms of infrastructure, support, and money. However Chicago was ranked 3rd by an IOC evaluation report as to the technical aspect of their bid behind Tokyo and Madrid.[76] Some IOC members also resent the large share of revenue taken by the United States Olympic Committee in a long standing dispute with the IOC;[77] recently, the USOC has made headway in negotiating progress for a viable solution.[58] Having received the fewest number of votes in the first round, Chicago was the first city eliminated from contention. This was seen as a major upset against the Chicago bid team,[78]

Applicant cities

City Country National Olympic Committee Result
Baku  Azerbaijan National Olympic Committee of the Azerbaijani Republic (AZMOC) Not shortlisted

[81] Baku's elimination was not unexpected, as one insider cited that practically no sports facilities meet global standards, the underdeveloped tourist sector, and regional conflicts. He cited 2020 or 2024 as times when Baku will have more serious arguments to win a bid.[80] Baku's logo depicts petroglyph images from the Gobustan Rock Plateau, which features the remains of settlements and burials reflecting ancient human culture.[82]

Doha  Qatar Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) Not shortlisted

Doha submitted its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics[83] after its hosting of the 2006 Asian Games, spending US$2.8 billion on infrastructure and venues.[84] The Doha 2016 bid won much regional support, for example from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) president[85] and the Gulf Cooperation Council. The Aspire Zone Sports City was to be the centerpiece of the bid, much as it served in the 2006 Asian Games. Qatar is in a growth period due to its petroleum reserves, and like Baku, is well situated to finance a large event. Doha is the only city in the Arab World other than Cairo to mount a serious bid, with pundits speculating the IOC may reward it by promoting it to the final shortlist. Although in a troubled area, Qatar is known as an open-minded country which is promoting acceptance and change and promoted a strong message of peace and acceptance for the region. In July and August, the average temperature in Doha can easily reach 45°C (113°F), thus they proposed mounting the Games in October. It is not without precedent (e.g. Mexico City and Sydney), but is technically outside the requirements. As Doha and Qatar in general (500,000 and 1,400,000 inhabitants, respectively) is among the smallest cities to bid to host the modern games, the Qataris would have to be innovative in bringing in spectators from neighboring countries to raise ticket sales. A side consideration is that like Azerbaijan, Qatar also has a short Olympic legacy,[58] and has been criticised for its practice of giving "passports of convenience" to foreign athletes to pad their record.[86] Only two new venues were to have been built, a velodrome and a baseball stadium, although a new Athletes' village was to be designed. Khalifa International Stadium currently seats 50,000, under the 60,000 to meet the IOC standards.[87] Also, Qatar has plans to build the world's most advanced Paralympics stadium and the world's first underground stadium for matches during the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar. The Doha logo for the 2016 bid is the al dahma, the flower of the spring. The design uses motifs from traditional henna decorations and Doha is written in Arabic in the design.[88]

Prague  Czech Republic Czech Olympic Committee (ČOV) Not shortlisted

On March 22, 2007, Prague confirmed its bid when the Prague Assembly voted 53-10-3 in support of launching an official bid. One of the most beautiful and visited cities in Europe,[89] Prague fulfills the cultural aspects that the IOC seeks in a candidate.[58] With a strong sports history and excellent accommodations, Prague had potential to make a memorable host.[58] However, Prague has few venues in place; the plans included building three sport centers – a velodrome for cyclists in Prague or Brno; a swimming stadium that would be constructed from the existing Prague-Sutka Aquapark; and the major Olympic complex to be built in Letnany. At the Aquapark, circular pools would be built to represent the Olympic rings. Other boating venues would be in Lipno, Racice, and Troja.[90] Prague planned to use the Sazka Arena (now the O2 Arena) for gymnastics,[90] and in some way the city planned to use or refurbish Strahov Stadium. Further details have stressed that perhaps only 30% of construction would leave a permanent legacy. After initial support from civic authorities such as mayor Pavel Bem, Prague's bid became a long-shot.[91] Considering the lack of current stadia and other important Olympic sports infrastructure and the 2012 London hosting of the games, Prague was warming up for a later Olympic bid.[58] Prague struggled with broader support in the Czech Republic; even president Václav Klaus publicly worried about budget estimates and white elephants.[92] A public opinion poll in October 2007 mustered a quite low 50% support.[93] Prague's bid logo features a branch from a laurel wreath, a traditional symbol of victory and celebration.

Potential cities overview

Predicting indices

Two websites, and Around the Rings, feature predicting indices which specialize in evaluations of Olympic Games bids. They periodically release analysis of the candidates and assigns them a score between 0 and 100, or 0 and 110 respectively. The score produces a number that can be used to rate a bid relative to past successful bids - and possibly gauge its potential future success.'s scale is called BidIndex,[117] AtR's is called the Power Index.[118][119]

Table of unofficial predicting indices
Bidding city GamesBids
Around the Rings
Baku (bid details) 36.43 ...
Chicago (bid details) 61.24 83
Doha (bid details) 53.46 ...
Madrid (bid details) 57.80 80
Prague (bid details) 37.17 ...
Rio de Janeiro (bid details) 61.42 84
Tokyo (bid details) 59.02 80

Both indice correctly predicted the winner, Rio de Janeiro, but failed to predict the poor showing of Chicago, which was the first to be eliminated from the final 4 as well as the strong showing of Madrid, who was the last contender against Rio.


  1. ^ Released on September 10, 2009. Doha, Prague, and Baku are no longer being rated. Their scores are from May 28, 2008.
  2. ^ as of September 27, 2009


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External links

  • Candidature Acceptance Procedure (PDF). (IOC). May 16, 2007. 
    • Application File for Rio de Janeiro. (BOC). January 14, 2008. 
    • Application File for Madrid. (SOC). January 14, 2008. 
    • Application File for Tokyo. (JOC). January 14, 2008. 
    • Application File for Chicago. (USOC). January 14, 2008. 
    • Application File for Doha. (QOC). January 14, 2008. 
    • Application File for Prague. (COC). January 14, 2008. 
    • Application File for Baku. (AOC). January 14, 2008. 
  • Working Group Report (PDF). (IOC). March 14, 2008. 
  • Candidature Procedure and Questionnaire (PDF). (IOC). June 4, 2008. 
    • Candidature File for Rio de Janeiro. (BOC). February 12, 2009. 
    • Candidature File for Chicago. (USOC). February 12, 2009. 
    • Candidature File for Madrid. February 12, 2009. 
    • Candidature File for Tokyo. February 12, 2009. 
  • Report of the Evaluation Commission (PDF). (IOC). September 2, 2009.