TODAY   |  October 03, 2009

Raucous Rio celebrates Olympic win

Oct. 3: While Chicago wonders what could have been, Brazil is celebrating its historic victory. NBC’s Lester Holt and Miguel Almaguer reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> report.

>>> bewe begin with disappointment for chicago . the windy city losing its bid to host the 2016 olympic games in spite of some high-profile help.

>> rio de janeiro .

>> reporter: after an impassioned pitch to host the first-ever south american olympic games , rio de janeiro 's victory was far from a shock. but the early round loser was.

>> the city of chicago , having obtained the least number of votes, will not participate in the next round.

>> reporter: a collective gasp was heard on chicago 's daly plaza as thousands who would who had assumed they'd be celebrating a victory instead learned chicago had come in last, behind rio , madrid, and tokyo.

>> for it to be over that quickly, that stunningly fast, it's just -- it's heartbreaking.

>> i am surprised, and i'm very disappointed.

>> going to bring a lot of work, a lot of construction and a lot of jobs.

>> i just don't feel good about it.

>> reporter: president obama , who risked political backlash at home to make a last-minute trip to copenhagen to pitch chicago , was in the air when he got word of the loss.

>> one of the things that i think is most valuable about spoerts is that you can play a great game and still not win.

>> reporter: chicago 's celebrity-backed presentation of its vision of a lake-front olympics had been given high mashes. but some longtime olympic observers believe its rejection may not have been over merit but instead from bad blood between the u.s. and international olympic committees.

>> chicago is really collateral damage. the fight here is between the international olympic committee and the united states olympic committee , and they are enmeshed in a very complex series of disputes over money.

>> reporter: those deeply familiar with rio de janeiro 's proposal said it had more than public excitement and geography on its side.

>> they're very passionate layout of their plan, rio carried the day with the emotional story which they told very, very well.

>> as rio 's beach party is just beginning, chicagoans are talking about the party that never was. here's amy .

>>> lester, thank you. now to the city that won the bid, rio de janeiro , and nbc's miguel almaguer, who was there as the party started, no doubt went late into the night . miguel, have you slept?

>> reporter: amy , i tried to get a few hour last night. you're right, though. that party did certainly go all day and into the night . in fact, this morning, many people in rio are barely starting to wake up at this hour. said simply, this city did make history.

>> the games of the xxxi olympiad are awarded to the city of rio de janeiro .

>> reporter: with that, rio erupts. is the sands at cocoa cabana beach shook with excitement. the frenzy of yellow and green brazilian flags along with bikinis.

>> an opportunity to show the world what south america is to the world.

>> reporter: in copenhagen, brazil soccer legend pele celebrated with hugs and cheers. and the country's president cried when he heard rio won. luis lula da silva made an impassioned case that the olympics should belong to all people and all continents.

>> translator: our time has come. it's time. tonight, the olympic caldron is lit in a tropical country.

>> reporter: to make its case, brazil reminded the ioc the olympics have been held 30 times in europe, knife asia, twice in australia, and 12 times in north america . brazil, with 200 million people, most who speak portuguese, is the powerhouse of south america . its vibrant economy is expected to be the world's fifth largest by the time of the 2016 games. what rio also has going for it is its stunning backdrop, the promise of all sports held within the cities, sailing by sugarloaf mountain and beach volleyball on cocoa cabana. and rio promised to spends $14 billion on venues and infrastructure for the games and go green by planting 24 million trees to offset carbon dioxide emissions . still, as rio prepares for its close-up on the world stage, there are challenges ahead. known for its -- yes. rio has lost four of its previous bids and today, amy , the president here says not only this country but this city is ready to host