THE BEST OF 2009: Rio triumphs in 2016 Olympic race
THE script was simple.
EMOTIONAL: Charismatic Brazilian President Lula kisses football legend Pele after Rio were awarded the 2016 Olympic Games during the IOC Congress in Copenhagen (Getty Images)
Barack Obama was to jet into Copenhagen, deliver his tried and tested rhetoric and be back in the White House by nightfall , having secured Chicago the 2016 Olympics. Sadly, no-one told Mr President that sport and politics don't mix.
Obama's presence in the Danish capital dominated news channels and front and back pages alike but, to global astonishment, the International Olympic Committee were not impressed and duly handed Rio de Janeiro the chance to host the first ever South American Games.
As Olympic shocks go this certainly belongs at the top table. Rio were the eye-catching but risk-laden option while Chicago were the bankers. Seemingly the Windy City's bid could not be blown off course, yet it was first to be eliminated in the IOC ballot.
The Rio 2016 team pitched up in Copenhagen intent on making their presence felt. They hammered home their slogan ‘live your passion' and convinced the voting IOC members to sample their sun, sea and sand.
It was a wonderful decision, not only for taking a chance on a passionate, rapidly developing city that had far more to gain than its three rivals [Tokyo and Madrid being the others], but also for so deliberately shunning yet another American Olympics.