Rio Wins It for 2016!

For the first time in history, the Olympics will be held in South America

Oct 09, 2009 | By Jonathan Rosenbloom

Olympic officials have chosen Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as the site for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. It is the first time in Olympic history that the sporting event will take place in a South American nation. The big announcement was made this afternoon in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is meeting.

Rio's Time to Shine

Rio was one of the four cities hoping to get the Games. The others were Chicago, Illinois; Madrid, Spain; and Tokyo, Japan. The decision to choose Rio came after a final round of speeches by some very important people. U.S. President Barack Obama, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Yukio Hatoyama, Prime Minister of Japan, each tried to convince the IOC judges that their country should host the Games. But Brazil's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, may have made the best sales pitch.

Da Silva told IOC members it was time for a South American city to host the Games. He said having the Olympics in South America would inspire the 400 million people who live on the huge continent. Da Silva noted that Brazil had earned its chance to show that the Games belonged to people of all continents. "I honestly believe it is Brazil's time," da Silva said. "It is time to light the Olympic cauldron in a tropical country."

Full Speed Ahead

Da Silva and officials from the city of Rio talked about the plans they have for hosting the 2016 Games. Brazil plans on spending more than $14 billion to ready the coastal city of 10 million people for this history-making event. Some of their plans include setting aside one of Rio's beautiful beaches for the use of the athletes, improving mass transit so people can get around to the different stadiums easily, and beefing up security for visitors and athletes alike.

Meanwhile, the people of Rio, who call themselves Cariocas, are already celebrating the big win and the historic decision. Thousands of joyous Rio residents gathered in streets, parks and on beaches. Tomorrow the hard work of making Rio de Janeiro the site of a global extravaganza begins.