Chicago's bid, compelling as it is, sounds like a real estate ad.
Sophisticated urban setting close to all amenities! Expansive lakefront with breathtaking views! Cheap, must go now!!
Tokyo wants to be the Captain Planet of Olympiads.
Or, as Governor Shintaro Ishihara said, modestly, "a completely new Olympic Games, that will save the Planet Earth, can be held by Tokyo."
Sounds like a Heroes episode. But hey, it's Japan. Could be a lot weirder.
The Japanese propose to use unprecedented engineering tactics to create a sustainable games, creating structures that will stand the test of time, and the incessant giggling of Ganguro girls. They’ve even pledged to have a carbon-minus games, meaning, instead of producing toxins for the atmosphere, they’ll reduce them.
Tokyo's promising 10 permanent and seven temporary new venues. Included is a stadium built by architect Tadao Ando, who was a truck driver and a boxer before he decided, what the who, I'll become an architect. True story.
Tokyo's chances: China recently hosted the games and two consecutive Asian locales is unlikely. Also, IOC evaluators say that they’re not sure Tokyo can pull off its ambitious building plan.
But they are from the future, so don't count them out.
Motto: "Share this energy"
Average Ticket Price: $36
Check out the bid plan
Rio's emotional pitch: No games have ever been held in South America. At every opportunity, Rio's bid committee trots out a map showing as much.
Rio's bid is similar to Chicago’s in that they’re pitching a compact, athlete-friendly games that will all take place within the confines of its city. They plan to have four Olympic zones throughout the city, including one in their famous Copacabana district.
They're also cashing in on the fact that their city is beautiful and their people are lively. And there's a huge stone Jesus. What up, Yahweh.
Rio's drawbacks: The city's also hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup, just two years before the Games. That would give fundraisers fits, because dollars would be split between the two events.
Another sticking point: crime. Rio baby, you hot, but you ain't the safest.
"The Games with the Human Touch"
Average Ticket Price: $83
Check out the bid plan
The good news for Spain: 80% of their venues are built.
The bad news: Most observers don't think the IOC will vote to host the Olympics in Europe again. Europe had the games in '04 and '06, and will again in 2012 (London) and 2014 (Sochi, Russia -- close enough).
But but but! Madrid claims to be the safest of the bid cities, as opposed to Chicago and Rio.
Chicago's best hope: Tokyo gets punted in the first round of voting, then Madrid and Rio slug it out for the so-called "Latin vote." If Madrid wins against Rio, Chicago's in great shape heading into the last round.