The International Olympic Committee has shortened the list of possible host cities for the 2016 Olympics to four: Chicago (USA), Tokyo (Japan), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and Madrid (Spain). The candidate cities were accepted unanimously from seven applicant cities, which also included Prague (Czech Republic), Baku (Azerbaijan) and Doha (Qatar).
“All the bids were of a very high standard,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge. “It is a tribute to the health of the Olympic Movement that the field was so strong. I congratulate the Candidate Cities and I hope that those cities which were unsuccessful this time have benefited from the process.”
The selection was made by the IOC’s Executive Board in Athens, venue for this week's SportAccord conference. The decision was based on a technical analysis of the Applicant Cities’ applications submitted earlier this year. The analysis and subsequent report was made by a working group of Olympic Games experts who assessed each Applicant City's potential for staging successful Olympic Games in 2016. The technical assessment was based on 25 questions, covering a variety of areas such as venues, transport, accommodation and security. 

The four Candidate Cities now have until February 12, 2009 to submit their Candidature File to the IOC. These files will be analysed in detail by an IOC Evaluation Commission, which will also visit the Candidate Cities, before issuing a report one month prior to the election. The final decision on the host city for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in 2016 will be made by the full IOC membership on 2 October 2009 during the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen.