Page last updated at 21:51 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 22:51 UK

Olympic 'losers' stunned and dismayed

BBC correspondents in Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid witness scenes of dejection after the vote that gave the 2016 Olympic Games to Rio de Janeiro.

Alex Gonzalez of Chicago reacts to news that Chicago was eliminated in the first round
Chicago was full of hope as President Obama went to plead for his city

Hemmed in by Chicago's towering skyscrapers, the crowd that gathered in Daley Plaza to watch proceedings in Copenhagen on giant screens was noisy and expectant.

One minute, they were partying to the rocking sounds of a tribute band. But when the IOC president, Jacques Rogge, intoned that Chicago, having received the least number of votes, was out, they were reduced to stunned, slack-jawed silence.

Open-mouthed, they stared at the screens, bewildered and dismayed.

"Is that it?" someone asked with dismay.

Pretty soon, with chilly autumn rain starting to fall, the crowd started to melt away. But many stayed, some to offer congratulations to Rio, other to continue waving their "It's Gonna Happen" placards.

Local TV reporters commiserated with the crowd, some asking if they thought the IOC was anti-American (having turned down New York four years ago).

But not everyone was dismayed. Public opinion in Chicago has been split on whether the games should come to the city.

Some said it was time to concentrate on things that really matter, like the economy and Chicago's legendary predilection for shady business.

As the crowds headed off down the city's concrete canyons, an Olympic banner, plastered across the side of Daley Plaza, invited citizens to "Imagine".

After today, they will have to imagine something else.

A woman at the Royal palace in Madrid
Madrilenos were full of optimism before the vote

For one tantalising hour, before the envelope was opened, Madrilenos dared to dream.

Widely written off beforehand because of its proximity to the 2012 host city, the Spanish capital had defied the odds and made it to the final run-off.

Against a sunset backdrop over the royal palace, thousands of supporters in Plaza de Oriente turned their thoughts to an unlikely victory.

Sadly, it was not to be, but Madrid exceeded all expectations with its well-costed bid and quietly effective lobbying.

The bid organisers had rightly predicted that, if Madrid could survive the first cut, the whole complexion of the contest would change.

Behind the scenes they had pushed hard for delegates' second-choice votes.

Those dejectedly leaving the plaza conceded that Rio was a worthy winner.

Before the vote, a senior member of Madrid's delegation had publicly and foolishly called the Brazilian bid the "weakest".

But in truth, the two cities offered a similar vision of a sun-drenched, Latin, Olympic experience.

Madrid looked like the safer option, appealing to the head - but delegates followed their hearts.

In Tokyo, workers fold up the city's Olymopic bid banner
In Tokyo, the Olympic banner was folded up

Cheerleaders sporting natty little skirts and silver pompoms were there - so were men energetically banging huge drums, and people dressed up in masks and kimonos like traditional theatre actors, but just half an hour after Tokyo's party began, it was all over.

The crowd watching the vote in a hall was just a few hundred strong, miniscule compared to the huge gatherings in other cities, it was the middle of the night after all.

But when Chicago was knocked out, for a short while there was hope.

If members of the International Olympic Committee were going to do the unexpected, perhaps the games would return to the biggest conurbation on earth in 2016.

On paper the bid was good - the metropolitan government had set aside around $4bn, the national government was guaranteeing any shortfall.

Japan's capital already has some of the best infrastructure anywhere, and was promising a green, sustainable games.

But Tokyo was fighting the perception that people here just did not want the Olympics enough. Just 56% of city residents were in favour in an IOC poll.

As the camera crews packed up and the crowd drifted away, Tokyo 2016 volunteers gathered for one last time.

They cheered their own efforts, and promised each other it would be Tokyo's turn next time.

Print Sponsor

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