125th IOC Session Wrap-Up
Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympics on Saturday, capitalizing on its reputation as a "safe pair of hands" and defying concerns about the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Tokyo defeated Istanbul 60-36 in the final round of secret voting Saturday by the International Olympic Committee. Madrid was eliminated earlier after an initial tie with Istanbul.
Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Olympics, billed itself as the safe and reliable choice at a time of global political and economic uncertainty.
"Tokyo can be trusted to be the safe pair of hands and much more," bid leader and IOC member Tsunekazu Takeda said in the final presentation. "Our case today is simple. Vote for Tokyo and you vote for guaranteed delivery. ... Tokyo is the right partner at the right time."
WRESTLING ADDED TO 2020 AND 2024 OLYMPIC PROGRAMS
Seven months after losing its Olympic place, wrestling was reinstated for the 2020 Games on Sunday when the IOC overturned a decision many members thought was a mistake.
The sport, which has ancient roots in the Olympics, easily defeated bids from baseball-softball and squash. It will now join the program of the 2020 Games, which were awarded to Tokyo on Saturday.
Wrestling, which was surprisingly dropped from the list of core sports in February, received 49 votes to win in the first round of secret balloting by the International Olympic Committee. Baseball-softball got 24 votes and squash 22.
The decision capped a frantic six-month campaign by the wrestling body FILA to revamp the organization and reshape the sport to save its Olympic status.
"With this vote, you have shown that the steps we have taken to improve our sport have made a difference," FILA President Nenad Lalovic said. "I assure each of you that our modernization will not stop now. We will continue to strive to be the best partner to the Olympic movement that we can be."
GERMANY'S THOMAS BACH ELECTED IOC PRESIDENT
Thomas Bach was elected president of the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday, keeping the powerful sports body in European hands.
Bach, a 59-year-old German lawyer, succeeds Jacques Rogge, the Belgian who is stepping down after 12 years as head of the Olympic body.
Bach, the long-time favorite, defeated five rival candidates in the secret balloting. He received 49 votes in the second round to secure a winning majority. Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico finished second with 29 votes.
Bach received a standing ovation for nearly a full minute after Rogge opened a sealed envelope to announce his victory. Bach bowed slightly to the delegates to acknowledge the warm response and thanked the members in several different languages.
"This is a really overwhelming sign of trust and confidence," Bach said.
TWIN BOOST FOR AMERICAN INFLUENCE IN THE IOC
In a twin boost for American influence in the international sports world, USOC chairman Larry Probst joined the IOC on Tuesday and Anita DeFrantz was elevated to the Olympic body's powerful executive board.
The elections reflected the improved standing of the U.S. in the International Olympic Committee after years of strained relations, and gave further impetus to a potential American bid for the 2024 summer Games.
"Having another member in the Olympic family, in the IOC, and having Anita on the executive board, I think it's a big deal and it's good news for the USOC and the United States," Probst said.
Probst was elected by a vote of 71-20, becoming the fourth U.S. member on the Swiss-based body. The chairman of video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. joins DeFrantz, Jim Easton and Angela Ruggiero as IOC delegates.