2016 countdown begins

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With one year to go until the International Olympic Committee chooses its host for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the four candidate cities have marked the occasion with lively celebrations.

With one year to go until the International Olympic Committee chooses its host for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the four candidate cities have marked the occasion with lively celebrations. Tokyo 2016 kicked off the countdown by staging an outdoor celebration at Midtown, the latest redevelopment in the heart of Japan's capital, bringing together Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, Japanese medallists from the Beijing 2008 Games, the popular all–female theatre troupe AKB48 and thousands of passionate supporters of the Tokyo 2016 bid. In another kick–off event held on the same day, Dr Ichiro Kono, chairman and CEO of Tokyo 2016, and professor Shin–ichi Takemura, a Grand Design Team member and the author of Tokyo 2016's forward–looking vision, hosted a press conference to explain the concepts of the Tokyo 2016 Games, including the 'Musubi Promise' to unite youth and sport, heritage and innovation, the Games and city life, Japan's old and new, and Green and 2016. They also presented Tokyo 2016's plans for the year ahead, including promotion of not only the bid itself but related social issues as well, including awareness of Olympism and its values among schoolchildren, better health through physical activity, and more. Sport and youth were also two themes chosen by Rio 2016 to mark the year to come. School children from government sports projects were special guests at a series of events held by the federal, state and municipal governments. The highlight of a commemorative lunch at the official residence of Sergio Cabral Filho, governor of Rio de Janeiro, was a group of pupils from the 'Suderj em Forma' project, which encourages young people throughout Rio de Janeiro to participate in sports such as athletics and swimming. The children were chosen from more than 50, 000 project participants. The Madrid 2016 team marked the occasion by presenting plaques to 26 new sponsors for the bid demonstrating the level of support from the business world in Spain. Chicago 2016 meanwhile distributed clocks, calendars and other educational information throughout the city to keep Chicagoans involved in the bid process. Additionally, bid CEO Patrick Ryan met with the consul general of Denmark and shared a countdown clock with him to commemorate the location of the final vote which will be held in Copenhagen on 2 October 2009.

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