Rihanna, Protest & a Secret Pitch: Inside 2020 Olympic Cities, by Way of YouTube

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With just eight weeks to go until the world learns who will host the 2020 Olympic Games, leading contenders Tokyo, Madrid, and Istanbul are making their pitches in private today to the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland. But the real first look, an initial public offering of sorts, has arrived in video form. Each host committee has 45 minutes for a pitch behind closed doors at a convention center, then 45 minutes for a question-and-answer session with the ever-evolving IOC — plus a minute-long YouTube clip (below) to sway public opinion ahead of the official vote in Buenos Aires on September 7.

Istanbul, of course, is currently in the most delicate position of the three: While Turkey's largest city is bustling and would also become the first majority Muslim country to host the Olympics, it's also bustling with unrest in Taksim Square, made all the more complex today by a Turkish court's apparent decision to cancel the redevelopment of the park. IOC member Dick Pound explained the dilemma to The New York Times: "It is potentially a pity, since my impression, from what I hear, is that the 2020 race may be Istanbul's to lose."

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Tokyo has emphasized itself as a safe choice for the Summer Games, financially and otherwise. Presenters will probably pull at the heartstrings of 100 voters, 86 of whom are attending the pitch at Bealieu Convention Center today. Apparently 2020 torchbearers would run through the areas affected by the 2011 tsunami, and in a technical evaluation report released by the IOC last week, Tokyo bested the other two 2020 finalists.

Madrid's push, meanwhile, has been affected by Spain's failing economy, but presenters claim that 80 percent of the infrastructure they would use for the games is already in place. Also, for what it's worth, the city has a reputation for sports doping.

But about those YouTube videos — they're full of clues about what the big cities will be pitching today and in the months to come. The Istanbul clip features the Rihanna chart-topper "Diamonds," as well as shots of the picturesque city... and some local girls taking a selfie.

Tokyo focuses, in its video, pretty much exclusively on athleticism. There are plenty chopped shots of various competitions and an extremely charming paper-heart motif.

Madrid wrapped it up fairy-dusted shots of the city and some local culture. 

You can watch all three videos below. And to the two inevitable losers come September: at least you're not Tulsa

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.