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Olympic countdown: Long night's journey into day
By Ted Cox | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/29/2009 12:04 AM

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With the seven-hour time difference between Chicago and Copenhagen, Denmark, it's going to be a long night's journey into day on Friday before we find out which city will play host to the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Local network TV affiliates are planning live coverage of Chicago 2016's final presentation to the 106 members of the International Olympic Committee when the city leads off at 1:45 a.m. From there, most stations will drop coverage and pick things up with their morning newscasts, although WLS Channel 7 is planning to stream all four final presentations on its Web site, with Tokyo at 3:25 a.m., Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at 5:05 a.m. and Madrid, Spain, at 7:45 a.m.

The formal IOC session proper begins at 9 a.m., when Chicago 2016 will also hold a "Live Watch" rally at Daley Plaza in Chicago. From there, it's anyone's guess when the voting will actually be concluded, although the final announcement is scheduled for between 11:30 and noon.

IOC members vote by electronic secret ballot until one city earns a majority, with the lowest vote-getter eliminated in each round, so it ought to take only three ballots at most. Yet, if two cities are tied for the lowest number of votes, they stage a separate elimination ballot.

The 2012 selection process, won by London, took five ballots, and the second-round leader, Madrid, was eliminated in the third round. So really anything can happen.

The formal signing ceremony is set for 12:45 p.m., but by then the Chicago area will either be in raucous celebration or have moved on to other things.

Pity the poor Blackhawks. They schedule their big, publicity-stunt trip to open the NHL season in Europe against the Florida Panthers in Helsinki, Finland, only to wind up directly opposite the Olympic announcement at 11 a.m. on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.