It was a moment of pure theatre, staged for television and based on a model which originated at the Oscar ceremony in 1941 when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences first introduced the format of an announcer opening sealed envelopes to reveal the winners (Levy, 2003, p. 53). The voting for the city that would stage the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games had been completed over an hour earlier. The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, and the other IOC members all knew the result, but were sworn to silence. The audience in Copenhagen’s Bella Convention Centre had been cleared to allow in two substantial phalanxes of supporters of the bids for Madrid and Rio de Janeiro – the two cities that had survived until the final round of voting. A suitably svelte blonde Danish athlete brought in an oversized envelope which she presented to Rogge. As he began to open the envelope, he intoned the words: ‘I have the honour to announce that the Games of the ThirtyFirst Olympiad are awarded to the city of…’. After the obligatory dramatic pause, which in this instance lasted fully thirteen seconds, he had clumsily withdrawn the card from the envelope, turned it to the cameras of the world’s television networks, and completed his sentence with the words ‘Rio de Janeiro’.