LAUSANNE (Reuters) - Buenos Aires will host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games after beating the Colombian city of Medellin in an International Olympic Committee vote on Thursday.
Glasgow was eliminated in the first round of voting and the Argentine capital won 49 votes to Medellin’s 39 in the second round. Four Buenos Aires bids for the senior Olympics, the most recent for the 2004 Games, have ended in rejection.
“We won on our experience in staging major sporting events and the compactness of the venues,” Gerardo Werthein, president of the Argentine Olympic Committee, told reporters.
“We have bid four times for an Olympics, this event is tailor-made for our country, for our possibilities.”
The choice of Buenos Aires appeared to break with an unwritten principle that the youth games should be staged in cities which are too small to have any hope of staging the senior Olympics.
Medellin, home to the notorious Medellin drug cartel in the 1980s, had been hoping to be awarded the games as recognition of its recent transformation.
Known as the city of eternal spring thanks to its balmy Andean climate, it has a thriving cultural scene and its innovative urban projects, including cable cars to the hillside shanty-towns, have been copied elsewhere in Latin America.
Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos took part in Medellin’s presentation.
“Colombia and Medellin have moved forward in an amazing way from very difficult times,” he said during the presentation. “It’s a new Colombia, a nation that likes to think big.”.
Medellin’s mayor Anibal Gaviria added: “I believe this would be an opportune symbol of this reconciliation.”
The Youth Olympic Games were first held in Singapore in 2010 and the next edition will be hosted in Nanjing, China, next year.
Editing by Robert Woodward