Tokyo Selected as Site of 2020 Olympics
By Harold Heckle and Joseph Wilson
MADRID -- Tens of thousands of Spaniards were devastated after Madrid lost its bid to host the 2020 Olympics on Saturday amid fears about the country's economy and unemployment rate.
It was the third successive time the capital failed in attempts to win the Summer Games. The International Olympic Committee meeting in Buenos Aires eliminated the city in the first round of voting, with Tokyo beating Istanbul in the final round.
"What a blow," said Carlos Vinuesa, a 36-year-old owner of a food transport company. "It's doubly disappointing because we lost both the bid and the party that Madrid had prepared. We had come with my family of three children, and frankly, this is a disaster."Once considered a long shot because of Spain's deep financial crisis, Madrid's bid gained momentum in the run-up to the IOC's vote by arguing the games would stimulate economic growth. But the crowd watching on large TV screens at Madrid's Puerta de Alcala square was dejected when the news was announced at 9 p.m. (3 p.m. Eastern time), just when the streets of the city, known for its late dinners and even later nightlife, began to fill with nocturnal revelers. The timing helped swell the large crowd already in place next to Retiro park, where Madrid had planned to hold beach volleyball matches during the Games. But as a dark cloud appeared in time to dampen the spirits of the crowd with a rain shower, the party-like atmosphere was thoroughly ruined when IOC President Jacques Rogge announced that Madrid had been eliminated after a run-off vote with Istanbul following their tie in the first round. A deathly hush descended on the crowd and the music came to a halt. The presenters on the stage thanked the crowd for coming and bade everyone good night. People immediately fell silent and started drifting away. "I am in shock," said 42-year-old Marta Castro, a housewife with three children. "I thought that it was a tiebreaker to see which city won and it turns out that it was to see which lost, and Madrid went out first. How sad! I hadn't imagined it."
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