Throngs in Chicago’s Daley Plaza “gasped in disappointment” when International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge announced that Chicago was eliminated from the 2016 bid, reports the New York Times.
Chicago’s leaders reportedly said they had been worried about the first round of voting when IOC politics often come into play the most, with some voting members simply wanting to keep some cities in the running even if they do not want them to win. But the New York Times reports they said they were still surprised at the result.
Stephanie Streeter, executive director of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), said she believed it was the country’s best Olympic bid but that it was undone because bid and USOC leaders were not seasoned enough in the ways of IOC politics.
According to the New York Times, former IOC member Kai Holm told The Associated Press that the brevity of President Obama’s appearance might have hurt Chicago. He called it “too business-like”, adding “it can be that some IOC members see it as a lack of respect”.
Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper said Asian voters might have banded together for Tokyo in the first round at Chicago’s expense, and he worried about the damage to the relationship with the USOC.
Meanwhile hundreds of people gathered by the Tokyo Tower to support the city’s bid but went from elation to quiet disappointment. The crowd of about 500 people staging a rally at the base of the city landmark, lit up in Olympic colours in hopes of celebrating a win, let out a collective cheer when Chicago was surprisingly eliminated in the first round. But their hopes were soon dashed when Tokyo was eliminated shortly thereafter.
In Madrid crowds gathered in front of the Royal Palace in anticipation of celebrating, with huge multi-coloured hands – the city’s bid symbol – waving in the air. Then came the painful, final announcement, reports The Associated Press, and Madrid was also eliminated.