Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi was awarded the 2014 Olympics on Wednesday, rewarding President Vladimir Putin and taking the Winter Games to his country for the first time.
Sochi defeated the South Korean city of Pyeongchang 51-47 in the final round of voting by the International Olympic Committee.
The Austrian resort of Salzburg was eliminated in the first round of the secret ballot , setting up the decisive head-to-head contest between Sochi and Pyeongchang.
Pyeongchang led the first round with 36 votes, followed by Sochi with 34 and Salzburg with 25. Sochi picked up 17 votes in the second round to secure the victory.
The result was a triumph for Putin, who put his international prestige on the line by coming to Guatemala to lobby IOC members and lead Sochi's final formal presentation to the assembly. Putin had left by the time the result was announced.
IOC president Jacques Rogge opened a sealed envelope and read the words the Russians longed to hear:
"The International Olympic Committee has the honor of announcing the 22nd Olympic Winter Games in 2014 are awarded to the city of Sochi."
Russian delegates in the hall erupted in cheers, jumped to their feet and hugged each other. They unfurled a Russian flag and chanted, "Sochi! Sochi!" Korean delegates bowed their heads, some in tears.
"It was a historic decision for all countries," Sochi bid chief Dmitry Chernychenko said. "Russia will become even more open, more democratic."
In Sochi, cheers erupted from the crowd of more than 15,000 that had gathered for a pop concert and the announcement in a main square.
[ 2007-07-05 10:11 ]