The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) added three new members to its Board of Directors Friday, choosing two with recent Olympic bid experience – a move that may help bolster Boston’s bid for the 2024 Olympic Games.
Joining the board are Daniel Doctoroff, former head of New York City’s failed bid for the 2012 Olympic Games and Kevin White, member of the Chicago 2016 steering committee. Three-time Olympian Steve Mesler was also appointed.
“He is unbelievably passionate about the Olympic movement, and has been since day 1 when he got involved in New York so having him on board, I think, is a huge plus,” Board Chairman Larry Probst said of Doctoroff at a press conference from Washington, D.C.
“I think it can only be a positive thing for the Board and for Boston 2024 to have Board members who are familiar with the bidding process, and know what works and what doesn’t work and have battle scars from the past.
“I don’t know that we consciously focussed on [selecting former bid members] but it’s a huge benefit to have people like that on our board.”
Boston 2024 officials, including Chairman John Fish, met with the USOC Board Friday and provided an hour long status update that likely included some of the recent negative publicity out of Boston.
Earlier in the week Boston 2024 released Executive compensation numbers in an effort to remain transparent amid softening public support that has dropped in recent months.
“What we need to do first and foremost is to assure the people of Boston that this is a fiscally responsible bid,” Scott Blackmun, USOC CEO said.
“I have 100% confidence that the people of Boston 2024 will be able to do that.
“Do we wish that the approval ratings were higher than 44 per cent? Absolutely we do but candidly it is much more important that those numbers be high two-and-a-half years from now.
“We have plenty of time to allow this trajectory to unfold.”
“I think Boston is where they need to be right now. I think they purposely waited to socialize this plan fully with their community until they were named.”
Boston and the USOC have until September 15 to lock in their bid application with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). There have been local calls for referendums that logistically couldn’t occur until after that commitment date. Officials are hosting a series of 20 community meeting to discuss the issues at hand.
“People in Boston are very smart, they’re asking some really good questions and I think after this process runs this course the people of Boston will have confidence on the most important issue of all here which is can we do this without tapping into the resources of the City of Boston,“ Blackmun said.
“And I think the answer to that question is going to be ‘yes’.”
Only Rome has officially countered Boston’s bid, but German officials are expected to announce whether Berlin or Hamburg will enter the race by next week. Other cities including Paris, Baku, Istanbul, Budapest and Doha have also expressed interest in entering the race that will finish in Lima, Peru in 2017.