Beating Madrid and Istanbul, Tokyo Wins 2020 Olympics

9.8.2013

By Neal Broverman

The decision by the International Olympic Committee is viewed as a safe choice.

Winning out over gay-friendly Madrid and emerging world capital Istanbul, Tokyo was named host city for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

The Japanese capital erupted into celebration after the Saturday announcement from the International Olympic Committee. Tokyo previously hosted the 1964 Olympics and Japan has hosted two Winter Olympic Games. 

Japanese officials assured IOC members that the nation was ready to host such an endeavor following the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crises of 2011. There was hope from some that Istanbul would win the Olympics, which would be a symbolic victory for the Muslim world and the nation of Turkey, which straddles Europe and Asia. But the IOC chose to go with a country that's unquestionably politically sound; Rio de Janiero, the host of 2016 Olympics, is mired in protests and persistent poverty.

Some gay activists were pushing for Madrid to host the 2020 Games, as it was the only city among the three finalists that has full legal rights for LGBT people. 

Now that the 2020 Games are decided, some are already hoping America makes a strong bid for 2024, as the last time the U.S. hosted the Summer Games was in 1996 in Atlanta.

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