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Time is running short for International Olympic Committee members gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark to decide which of four cites will host the 2016 Summer Games. But how members might change their minds could ultimately determining whether Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid or Rio de Janeiro will host the Games.
The International Olympic Committee, or IOC, has 106 members, but President Jacques Rogge does not vote. Neither do members from the United States, Japan, Spain or Brazil as long as each has a city in the running to host the 2016 Olympics.
As many as 97 votes will be cast in the first round on Friday. If no city receives a majority of the votes cast, the city with the fewest votes will be dropped from the list for a second round of voting. If there still is no majority winner, a third round of voting will be held between the two cities that received the most votes in the second round.
Because a city trails in early rounds of balloting does not mean it cannot win the final tally. Two years ago - in voting among three cities for the 2014 Winter Olympics - Sochi, Russia trailed Pyeongchang, South Korea by two votes in the first round, 36-34, with Salzburg, Austria receiving 25 votes. But when Salzburg was eliminated for the final ballot, Sochi won out over Pyeongchang, 51-47. More members who had Salzburg as their first choice had Sochi has their second choice, so the Russian city prevailed.
A similar scenario could play out for the 2016 Olympics, with the winning city being the second choice of many voting members.
Europe has the most voting IOC members with 46, including Rogge, who - if there is a tie in the final round - can vote or ask the IOC Executive Board to break the deadlock. Asia has 23 voting members, Africa has 15, North America has 13, South America has 5 and Oceania has 4.
Before Friday's balloting in Copenhagen, each bid city will have the opportunity to make a final, 45-minute presentation to IOC members, followed by a 15 minute question and answer session about their bids. The order of presentations will be Chicago, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid.
The stakes are high, with the winner not only being awarded the opportunity to host the world's biggest sporting event, but also the likelihood of millions of dollars in potential investment, and short-and long-term income generated by the Games.