Boston Selected To Bid For 2024 Olympic Games

Boston will be bidding for the 2024 Olympic Games, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced Thursday from Denver International Airport en route to a Friday meeting with the city.

Boston is bidding for the 2024 Olympic Games
Boston is bidding for the 2024 Olympic Games

The city was selected from a group of four including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington – all of which made presentations to the USOC last month when the Board of Directors of America’s Olympic governing body declared that it would be forwarding a bid for the Games.  At the time they stated that it was a “four-way tie” between the cities in their race to the domestic nomination.

It was a surprise to many who expected the honor to go to one of the rumored favorites from California.

Boston’s bid hopes its mix of existing and temporary venues, along with strong sports culture, will appeal to the IOC.  Organizers ran an aggressive campaign amid well-organized opposition that claimed there was poor transparency and a risk of cost overruns that the city couldn’t bear.

L.A. had already hosted the Games twice, in 1932 and 1984.  The city wanted to leverage its existing infrastructure and Olympic legacy to create a sustainable plan.

Washington, the seat of the of the Federal Government, would have had to work hard to steer the conversation from politics to sports if it hoped to appeal to the diverse international group of IOC members.  Washington also campaigned but lost the domestic nomination to host the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.

San Francisco’s bid put an internationally renowned and respected city on the stage, with depth of culture, sports, business and technology.  But with a history of Olympic opposition groups and a tricky venue plan – challenges would lay ahead.  A new stadium had been proposed for Oakland to host ceremonies and atheltics.

The USOC has said that they were hoping to select a bidding partner that would help the U.S. win the Games on the international stage.

The U.S. had poor results with two consecutive bids by New York and Chicago for the Games in 2012 and 2016 respectively.  However, over the past few years the USOC has undergone significant organizational change and renegotiated a disproportionate revenue-sharing agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), both of which were creating a tenuous relationship with the IOC.

Immediately after the announcement, the USOC team will fly to Boston for a Friday press conference.

It was a crazy day in Twitter-sphere as supporters and opponents for each city were busy pushing their agendas.  With lack of an official timeline and updates, rumors were abound with the first major speculation coming at about 5:00pm EST indicating that Boston and Washington had been eliminated.  That ultimately proved to be incorrect.

There was more than one round of voting, according to the USOC, and the final vote was unanimous.

“Today’s decision begins the next phase in our 2024 bid campaign, and we couldn’t be more excited about the partnership we’ve established with the leadership team in Boston,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun.

“This bid uniquely combines an exciting, athlete-focused concept for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games with Boston’s existing long-term vision.

“We look forward to working with Mayor Walsh and the Boston 2024 team to fully engage with the local community and identify ways we can make the bid even better.”

“It is an exceptional honor for Boston to be chosen as the U.S. representative in the running for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

“This selection is in recognition of our city’s talent, diversity and global leadership. Our goal is to host Olympic and Paralympic Games that are innovative, walkable and hospitable to all. Boston hopes to welcome the world’s greatest athletes to one of the world’s great cities.”

The IOC will kick off the bid process next Thursday (January 15) with its new invitation phase that will allow national Olympic committees to consult with the IOC and assess their proposals strategically.  Then, nominations can be submitted up until the September 15 deadline.

The IOC will elect the host city in 2017 in Lima, Peru.  Rome has also officially declared its candidacy, and other bids are be discussed from Paris, Doha, Istanbul, Budapest, Melbourne, Baku, a city from Germany and a city from South Africa.

More to come… Follow on Twitter and Facebook to stay connected with this story.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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