Reaction to End of Boston Olympic Bid Pours In

Officials weigh in on the end of Boston’s Olympic dream.

Associated Press

Associated Press

Reaction to the United States Olympic Committee’s decision to the kill Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics has been rolling in all afternoon.

The reactions are across the spectrum.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

“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. 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. We always anticipated having the time to do our due diligence on the guarantees required and a full review of the risk and mitigation package proposed last week. This is a monumental decision that cannot be rushed, even if it means not moving forward with our bid for the 2024 Summer Games.”

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun:

“During our telephonic meeting today, the board was briefed on our recent discussions with the Governor, the Mayor and Boston 2024 Chair Steve Pagliuca. We also took the opportunity to consider the remarks made by the Mayor at his press conference earlier today.

When Boston was selected in January of this year, we were excited about the possibility of partnering with Boston’s great universities in a bid that would take advantage of existing college facilities and spur the development of much-needed sport, transportation and residential infrastructure for the City of Boston. The cornerstone idea behind Boston’s bid was sound. We want to compliment and thank Steve Pagliuca and his team at Boston 2024 for the remarkable work they have done in the last two months to transform a powerful idea into a fiscally responsible reality that would have benefitted the City of Boston and America’s athletes for decades to come. Because of the good work of Boston 2024, we know that the Boston Games would have been good for Boston, just like the Olympic Games were good for Lake Placid, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City.

When we made the decision to bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, one of the guiding principles that we adopted was that we would only submit a bid that we believed could win.

Notwithstanding the promise of the original vision for the bid, and the soundness of the plan developed under Steve Pagliuca, we have not been able to get a majority of the citizens of Boston to support hosting the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Therefore, the 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.

Boston 2024 has expressed confidence that, with more time, they could generate the public support necessary to win the bid and deliver a great Games. They also recognize, however, that we are out of time if the USOC is going to be able to consider a bid from another city. As a result, we have reached a mutual agreement to withdraw Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The USOC would very much like to see an American city host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024. We will immediately begin to explore whether we can do so on a basis consistent with our guiding principles, to which we remain firmly committed. We understand the reality of the timeline that is before us. We will brief the media on our progress towards a decision later in August, and we will not have any public statements on the subject of a possible bid until then.”

Boston 2024 Chairman Steve Pagliuca:

“Today, after consulting with Mayor Walsh and Governor Baker, Boston 2024 and the United States Olympic Committee have made a joint decision to withdraw Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We continue to believe that hosting the Games would have brought transformational benefits to Boston. Thanks to a strong working relationship with Mayor Walsh and Governor Baker, as well as the support of business, community and political leaders across Massachusetts, we were able to release Bid 2.0, a fiscally-responsible plan for privately-financed Games that included unprecedented safeguards to manage the risks associated with hosting. We believe that the benefits of hosting the Games far outweigh the risks. With more time to engage in a discussion about Bid 2.0 – about its 8,000 new units of housing, tens of thousands of new jobs, and new tax revenues for the city – along with the appropriate review by Mayor Walsh, the Brattle Group, the Governor and Beacon Hill leadership, we think public support would grow in Boston and across the Commonwealth.

As we reflected on the timing and the status of our bid in this international competition, we have jointly come to the conclusion that the extensive efforts required in Boston at this stage of the bid process would detract from the U.S.’ ability to compete against strong interest from cities like Rome, Paris, Budapest and Hamburg. For this reason, we have jointly decided to withdraw Boston’s bid in order to give the Olympic movement in the United States the best chance to bring the Games back to our country in 2024. In doing so, 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.

The Games are the world’s best-loved sporting event, but they are much more than that. Hosting the Games in the world’s best city for sports also presented an economic development opportunity greater than any of us have seen here in decades. Although we had hoped for a different outcome, we know that Boston will still benefit from the bidding process. Ours is a world-class city, but we face challenges when it comes to the cost of housing, our aging infrastructure, and the need to help all Bostonians find good jobs. We believe that our planning for the Games, including the vision for Widett Circle and Columbia Point, has already benefitted Boston, Mayor Walsh’s important 2030 planning process, and other civic conversations around the future of Boston’s neighborhoods and economic vitality. It can still advance many of the economic development, housing, infrastructure, and job creation opportunities throughout Boston and the Commonwealth that Bid 2.0 outlined.

We are deeply grateful to our dedicated staff, Board members, venue hosts, business, academic and labor leaders, thousands of volunteers, and the many Bostonians who believed in our vision and, more importantly, who are passionate about Boston’s future. We believe Boston would have been an excellent host for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but we know Boston’s future is still bright thanks to the love for our city we’ve witnessed over the last several months.”

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson

“The citizens and taxpayers’ of the City of Boston deserve to have full transparency, insight and accountability in matters related to spending and city planning.  It is this mandate that lead me to call for full transparency from Boston 2024 and the release of the full, unredacted Bid 1.0 including the chapters on Bid Financials and Political Support.  The most important job of the Boston City Council is to protect the current and future financial standing of the City of Boston.”

House Minority Leader Brad Jones

“For supporters of Boston 2024, this is a significant letdown, but for those who opposed or had serious concerns about bringing the Olympics to Boston, today is a great day.  I agree with this decision, and I commend Mayor Walsh for putting the needs of the city and its residents first.  Although Boston will not be pursuing host city designation with the USOC, I think this process has been a good exercise in generating discussion about the city’s – and the Commonwealth’s — future and starting a dialogue on many important issues, such as transportation and development, that need to be addressed.”

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr

“Given all of the involved circumstances, today’s decision to withdraw the bid by Boston 2024 to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games nine years from now represents prudence, statesmanship, and responsibility to the citizens of Boston and our Commonwealth.

The fact that the United States Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee viewed the campaign by Boston 2024 and its partners to be competitive and worthy of consideration reaffirms the greatness of our state and its capital city, and reflects the tremendous effort produced by those seeking to bring the Olympics to Massachusetts.  While that effort has come to a close, it will certainly have continuing benefits.

Lasting far beyond the excitement caused by the idea of the Olympics and Paralympics possibly coming to the Bay State will be the way that idea has caused us to think and re-think just how together we can best utilize our strategic resources to grow the economy, improve transportation, produce more workforce housing, and make a great quality of life even better.

The Olympics and Paralympics could not, and should not have, come to Boston and the Commonwealth with a financial burden for our citizens and taxpayers, and the possibility of that burden is now gone.  Yet, what remains is our understanding and reconfirmation of the fact that we live in a great state with a world-class capital, and what endures is our responsibility to carry them to new heights.”