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Rio de Janeiro to host 2016 Olympic Games

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 02 October 2009

The Brazilian city beat off competition from Madrid, Chicago and Tokyo to host the sporting extravaganza in 2016.

Brazil win the 2016 Olympic bid (Getty)

Copacabana beach erupted in joy Friday after the Brazilian city won the vote to host the 2016 Olympic Games, bringing the world's biggest sporting event to South America for the first time.

The city saw off Madrid in the final round of voting among International Olympic Committee members.

The decision in Copenhagen kicked off a Carnival-style celebration on the sand as thousands of Cariocas, as Rio residents are known, danced and shouted in delight in front of a big stage and screens that showed the vote live.

Carlos Osorio, general secretary of the Rio bid, told Reuters: "Overwhelming, spectacular, unbelievable."

Luke Dowdney who founded the charity Fight for Peace, which helps street kids through boxing in one of the most crime-ridden and poverty-stricken parts of Rio, spoke to Krishnan Guru-Murthy about the potential of the Games to improve the city.

"It’s a massive opportunity undoubtedly but I think what most important is the social legacy is key to what happens and that means in the run up to the games, during the games and afterwards.

"[Fight for Peace] use sport together with education as a way of changing lives for young people in those communities for them to realise their potential and to more forward.

"The Olympics has to do the same. If it's purely to have a social legacy it needs to get community participation and really talk to those communities so that the legacy is there after the Games."

In an astonishing start to the voting, Chicago, the odds-on favourite, went out in the first round, despite receiving unprecedented support from United States President Barack Obama and the first lady.

It was a rebuff for Obama, who had become the first sitting U.S. president to address an IOC session.

Tokyo followed them out in the second round, leaving Madrid and Rio to slug it out in the final round.

Rio will be the first South American city to host the Games.

Surveys have shown strong support for hosting the Games in Rio and the city's campaign made the most of the famous passion of its people and its stunning natural setting between lush mountains and the sea.

The decision brings the Olympics to the city that most encapsulates the tropical country's love of Samba music, Carnival and soccer.

Thousands of exuberant Brazilians, many taking the day off work, partied with foreign tourists on the same sands where the beach volleyball competition will be held in 2016.

"Rio has everything and more than everything it has Cariocas who are the most marvelous people," said Norma Vilorinha, a retired teacher drinking beer on the beach.

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