Copenhagen, Denmark In 30 minutes, it will be over.
Years of preparations, arm-twisting, sweet-talking and hopes will be rejected or rewarded today when the International Olympic Committee votes to select the host for the 2016 Games.
Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo — one by one — will be eliminated in a tense half-hour of successive rounds of secret balloting until one stands alone.
Shortly afterward, IOC president Jacques Rogge will break open a sealed envelope containing the winner’s name and utter the magic words: “The games of the 31st Olympiad are awarded to the city of ...”
But on the eve of the vote, the IOC’s 106 members were, as ever, keeping their thoughts to themselves. Only Tokyo seemed to have fallen out of the running. Otherwise, it was still too close to call between the beaches and bossa nova of Rio, the bustle and Lake Michigan waterfront of Chicago or the European elegance of Madrid.