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  1. *NOTE: The actual voting has, of course, concluded...but just like during the 2012 bid comp, this blog is to provide a fitting finish to the competition! _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 19:06: Welcome to the GamesBids coverage of the 127th Session of the International Olympic Committee in Vienna! The most important point on the agenda of the Olympic Movement today: Selecting the Candidate City hosting the 2028 Summer Olympics. It seems like an eternity ago since this contest was announced, with the immediate entry of the joint bid of Cairo/Alexandria and the subsequent declarations of intent by cities like Cape Town, Copenhagen/Malmo, Melbourne, New York City, Paris, Sapporo and Toronto. Alas, Cairo withdrew its candidacy shortly prior to the selection of Candidate Cities by the IOC. The Paris 2028 Committee found itself disqualified and was unable to redeem itself after the defeat of the city's effort to win the 2012 Olympic Games. Finally, one by one, despite qualifying for the Candidate City phase, Copenhagen/Malmo, Cape Town and Toronto saw themselves unable to continue and withdrew their candidacies. But now, after almost three months, we find ourselves at this milestone in Olympic history. The election will be about to begin shortly. 19:16: As we wait for the arrival of the IOC Executive Board, let us explain the precise mode of election. The IOC members will vote by casting their ballots for their favoured city until there is a majority of votes assembled behind one city. The city with the lowest number of votes in a given round will be eliminated and its votes redistributed according to the single transferable voting system. The cities vying to win the grand prize of hosting the Olympic Games are: Melbourne, AUSTRALIA New York City, UNITED STATES and Sapporo, JAPAN 19:20: By the way, the Session is taking place in Schönnbrunn Palace in Vienna - a breathtaking backdrop to this vote. 19:22: It appears that there is finally some activity on the podium! And there we can see the IOC President, Plus Brilliants, walking into the conference centre after a meeting with the Austrian Chancellor that has clearly overrun - then again, hospitality always needs to be recognized. 19:27: Plus Brilliants: "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to the session. It has been a great pleasure to be hosted by the City of Vienna, and on behalf of the International Olympic Committee, may I just how grateful all IOC members are for the hospitality provided by the City of Vienna and the Republic of Austria on this occasion. This proves, once more, the deep attachment Austria has for the Olympic Movement - and, Mr Chancellor, I would particularly like to thank you for the warm conversation we just had" (Applause). Mesdames et messieurs, we have all assembled in this beautiful city in the centre of Europe to select the host of the 2028 Olympic Games. The procedure has been explained to you in the delegate packs, and by Sir Rols and myself earlier this morning. So, without further ado, I officially reconvene the 127th Session and would like to ask the Chief Scrutineer of the IOC, Sir Rols, to start taking the roll call for members to cast their ballots in the first round of voting." 19:31: As the IOC members start making their way towards the ballot boxes with their votes scribbled down in a ranking order of 1, 2 and 3, let us remind ourselves that just like in 2012, when Berlin won the right to host the 2024 Olympic Games against six other cities, this competition has been no less tense. 19:32: The three Candidate Cities tout different strengths in this contest. Melbourne is building its plan on the idea of sustainable Olympic Games, and proposes a comprehensive regeneration of disused land, not unlike the last successful bid from Australia: Sydney 2000. New York City's calling card is its cosmopolitan nature, whilst Sapporo has presented a proposal that appears to use the Agenda 2020 reforms passed by the IOC to maximum effect. All three cities offer good reasons to vote for them. 19:36: Of course, Twitter is running amok with rumours about the IOC's intentions. Will it plump for sustainability? Or opt for a big international metropolis? Or award the Games to Australia for the first time in 28 years? Whichever decision is taken tonight, it is clear that the winner won't be from Europe, South America or Africa. 19:38: Of course, media patriarch Rupert Murdoch, an Australian and an American citizen couldn't resist weighing in on tonight's decision: "New York is the smart choice, Melbourne is the heart's choice". Nothing is known about his preferences regarding Sapporo. 19:43: Talking of Sapporo. I think many people in Japan are stunned by the seamless and organizationally creative manner in which the northern Japanese city manoeuvred itself from an outsider in a crowded field into one of the plausible candidates for an Olympic Games in 2028, just eight years after Japan will host the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 19:45: New York City had entered the race early, and the experts are saying that they are in with a realistic chance to make it much further than its unsuccessful attempt at winning the 2012 Olympic Games. For now, though, the answer is only known by the IOC members. 19:46: CNN is reporting that "sources close to the IOC indicate that this Olympic Election will go into Round 2". These are obviously unconfirmed reports that we're passing on to our readers right now. 19:47: What will be more interesting will be the identity of the city being eliminated from contention. Given that there are only three Candidate Cities anyway, only a maximum of two rounds are currently expected. The President of the IOC has studiously avoided to add his voice to the proceedings, but retains the right to activate his right to vote in the event of a tie, even if he hasn't cast an official ballot in the first instance - essentially, as a tie-breaker. 19:49: Much lobbying has been going on in Vienna, not the least from the heads of government - with Prime Minister Tony Abbott having hopped on a plane two days ago to lobby on behalf of Melbourne. This obviously comes on the heels of difficulties he's faced back home in Australia. Winning the Olympics for Melbourne may very well be a feather in his political cap. 19:52: Ah, it seems that the President of the IOC is walking to the podium to announce the first-round result. 19:53: Plus Brilliants: "Ladies and gentlemen, the first round of voting has been concluded. The result has been verified by the Vice President, Sir Rols, whom I thank once again for taking on this important task. After the counting of all ballots, I can hereby confirm..." 19:54: "...that by virtue of having received the fewest votes, the city of Melbourne has been eliminated from this contest. The IOC shall now proceed to the second round".
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