Boston 2024 Olympic Bid Withdrawn
The Boston 2024 Olympic Bid was officially cancelled Monday due to financial uncertainties in a last-minute press conference organized by Mayor Marty Walsh.
“I cannot commit to putting the taxpayers at risk,’’ said Walsh. “If committing to sign a guarantee today is what’s required to move forward, then Boston is no longer pursuing the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
At the first of nine public meetings regarding the Olympic bid, Walsh had defended the bid, viewing the discussion as a way to advance city planning. However, he had stressed from the beginning that his “top priority is to represent the taxpayers and residents of the city of Boston.”
According to NPR, Walsh had previously noted that the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) was “pressuring” him to allocate the use of local taxpayers’ funds if the Summer Games went over budget.
As months went by, public support failed to grow, with groups like No Boston Olympics calling for a focus on immediate concerns such as transportation and schools.
“USOC does not think that the level of support enjoyed by Boston’s bid would allow it to prevail over great bids from Paris, Rome, Hamburg, Budapest or Toronto,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun in a statement.
The USOC, facing a September deadline to name a U.S. bid, has turned towards other American cities, namely Los Angeles, which has already hosted twice before.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has already voiced his desire to bid for the Summer Games. “I would be happy to engage in discussions with the USOC about how to present the strongest and most fiscally responsible bid on behalf of our city and nation,” he said in a statement.
In a statement posted on the group’s website, Boston 2024 Partnership chairman Steve Paglica said that following the USOC and Boston 2024’s joint decision to withdraw the bid, “Boston 2024 Partnership will offer our support and the extensive knowledge we have gained in developing our Bid 2.0 to any American city that may choose to participate in the 2024 bidding process going forward.”
A state consultant, Brattle Group, has been analyzing Boston 2024’s proposal. According to Governor Charlie Baker, this report is due in August and will be released to the public, allowing some judgement of the decision to withdraw in hindsight.
Mayor Walsh stands behind his decision to withdraw Boston’s bid.
“I strongly believe that bringing the Olympic Games back to the United States would be good for our country and would have brought long-term benefits to Boston,” he said in a statement, “However, no benefit is so great that it is worth handing over the financial future of our City and our citizens were rightly hesitant to be supportive as a result.”
No Boston Olympics supports Walsh’s words in a statement on their website, saying “Boston is a world-class city. We are a city with an important past and a bright future… We need to move forward as a city, and Monday’s decision allows us to do that on our own terms, not the terms of the USOC or the IOC.”