Three major Olympic decisions will come down in the coming week at the 125th International Olympic Committee session in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here’s what you need to know:
1. The host city for the 2020 Olympics will be named Saturday. Remember four years ago, when Chicago was a finalist to host the 2016 Olympics? On that Friday morning (U.S. time) in October 2009, Chicago was surprisingly eliminated in the first round of voting in Copenhagen. Of course, Rio de Janeiro went on to win the bidding to become the first South American host of the Games.
The other two finalists from four years ago, Madrid and Tokyo, are the two favorites from this year’s final list of three. The other candidate is Istanbul, which was seen as a much more popular pick nine months to a year ago, before it began dealing with anti-government protests and massive doping issues.
Madrid would give Spain its first Olympics since Barcelona 1992. Tokyo would bring the Olympics to Japan for the first time since Nagano 1998. Turkey has never hosted the Olympics.
Tokyo may hold the slight lead going into the session, where each city will make 45-minute presentations to the IOC followed by a question-and-answer session. Here’s how the voting will go down, via The Associated Press:
Voting begins at 2:45 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday. Nearly 100 IOC members will vote by secret ballot until one city gets at least 50 percent of the vote, so there could be two rounds of voting. IOC president Jacques Rogge, who opts not to vote, will open a sealed envelope and announce the winners shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday.
Here are the promotional videos from the three cities published by the IOC on YouTube two months ago:
2. Baseball/softball, squash or wrestling will be added for 2020 in a vote Sunday. The vote for which sport to include in the 2020 and 2024 Olympics became a major issue in February, when wrestling was dropped from the program.
In May, wrestling was given hope, along with a baseball-softball joint bid and squash, as the finalists for one available spot. Wrestling is still in the 2016 Olympics and the heavy favorite from the trio, so it’s likely the sport won’t miss any Games at all.
Baseball and softball were medal sports in 1992 (baseball only), 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 and cut from the Olympics beginning with the 2012 Games. Squash has never been part of the Olympics, though it made failed attempts for inclusion beginning in 2012 and 2016.
The sports will begin presentations (a half-hour each) at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The vote will be held from 11-11:45 a.m.
3. A new IOC president will be elected Tuesday. Jacques Rogge, the current president and eighth overall, is stepping down after 12 years at the helm. These are the six candidates to replace Rogge:
Thomas Bach (Germany)
Sergei Bubka (Ukraine)
Richard Carrion (Puerto Rico)
C.K. Wu (Taiwan)
Ng Ser Miang (Singapore)
Denis Oswald (Switzerland)
Bach, a fencing gold medalist at the 1976 Olympics and IOC member since 1991, is seen as the favorite. The election will take place from 10-11 a.m. — voting the same format as with the host city, so there could be multiple rounds — with an announcement due at 11:30.