All You Really Need to Know About the 2020 Summer Olympics Bids

A cheatsheet on which city might be chosen as the next future host of the Summer Olympics—Tokyo, Madrid, or Istanbul.

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Reuters

On Saturday in Buenos Aires, the International Olympic Committee will officially announce which city will host the 2020 Summer Games: Istanbul, Madrid, or Tokyo. The winning bid frequently comes as a surprise (Paris was sure it'd get the 2012 Games, and few anticipated Atlanta getting the '96 games) so it's hard to gauge what the IOC is thinking. But that won't stop us from trying!

WHY ISTANBUL WON'T WIN:

*The city's public transportation system just isn't nearly as good as Tokyo or Madrid.

*All those police crackdowns on anti-government protests earlier this summer have surely not left a great impression with IOC members.

*Oh yeah, and there's a terrible war going on in neighboring Syria, which could prove to be a security nightmare.

WHY ISTANBUL WILL WIN:

*This will be its fifth attempt. By sheer probability it has a better chance now than ever.

WHY MADRID WILL WIN

*Spain really loved building stuff before its economy collapsed. The good thing about that is it already has a lot of the facilities it needs for an Olympics.

*The team behind the Madrid bid say it can handle the expensive event. In theory hosting the games could, if done well, play a small role in jumpstarting the city's economy. The IOC may like to see itself as a savior here.

WHY MADRID WON'T WIN

*Madrid is where Eufemiano Fuentes, the mastermind behind one of the world's biggest doping rings, was based. Doping wasn't even illegal in the country until 2006.

*Don't forget the rampant government corruption and a potential host country that is increasingly mad about it. Protests bubbled up over the summer.

WHY TOKYO WILL WIN

*Many see Tokyo as a safe bet for an Olympics. It hosted them once before, in 1964.

*It has one of the best public transportation systems in the world.

*Being the biggest city of the three, it also has more than enough of everything, including over 120,000 hotel rooms. No worries about a hospitality boom and bust.

WHY TOKYO WILL LOSE

*Radiation levels are higher and harder to control in Fukushima (2.5 hours away) than originally hoped. For an event that brings in thousands of visitors and athletes, that can't be appealing.

*Locals just aren't that interested. An IOC poll last year showed only 55.5 percent of Tokyo residents support the bid.

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As one IOC delegate told The New York Times earlier this week, "none of these are perfect by any means," but one of these cities will still win anyways. When they do, they'll react like this:

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Tokyo last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1968. It was 1964. 

Top image: International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge greets Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Buenos Aires, September 6, 2013. The IOC will elect the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics at their session on Saturday. (REUTERS/Alexander Hassenstein-Pool)

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