Mayor Walsh on 2024 Boston Olympic Bid: ‘We Were Destined to Get Picked’
For Boston, the journey to secure the International Olympic bid has begun, and the hard work starts now, said Larry Probst, chairman of the United States Olympic Committee.
Following a closed-door meeting at the Denver International Airport on Thursday afternoon, Probst and board members from the USOC called Mayor Marty Walsh to inform him that the city was chosen as the domestic representative for the 2024 bid to host the Summer games, beating out three other major metropolitan areas including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
“We had a vigorous discussion and a vigorous debate, and at the end of that debate Boston prevailed,” he said.
If Boston continues in its success, and beats out the international cities vying for a chance to host the Summer games—Rome, Berlin, and Istanbul are all in the running— the USOC and the city will be locked into a nine-year partnership to shape their plan.
“We are very, very excited about this partnership, and we don’t think there is a better team to be working with,” Probst said.
Walsh, who was joined by members of Boston2024, the group that backed the proposal to pitch to the USOC; Governor Charlie Baker, and local Olympic champions at a press conference Friday, said the city will host nine community meetings over the next nine months to address residents’ concerns and talk about the benefits of bringing the Olympics to the region. He said plans would include utilizing school facilities, and tapping into surrounding cities and towns for resources.
“I knew Boston was destined to be America’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics,” Walsh said, adding that he was “very” excited. “Boston is a united city, and Boston is a passionate city…we unite to embrace opportunities, and we unite to achieve big things. And this is certainly a big thing.”
He said once people understand the full conversation that was had leading up to the USOC selecting Boston, they will be equally excited about hosting the games, and promised that preparing a pitch to present to the IOC would not take over his priorities as mayor. Walsh also vowed not to use public money to build stadiums, media centers, or other venues needed to host the Olympics.
“I bet if you went out and took a poll today, the majority of Bostonians are excited about this bid,” he said, promising to make the discussions surrounding the city’s plans “the most open, transparent, and inclusive process” in Olympic history. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Boston to show what we have in the city to the rest of the world.”
The city will hold it’s first public meeting on the Boston 2024 effort on January 27, 6:30 p.m. at Suffolk Law School.
No Boston Olympics, the grassroots group opposing the games, is also hosting a community gathering to talk to constituents about the proposal. “Boston2024’s lack of transparency is inconsistent with the Commonwealth’s values,” the group said in a statement prior to Walsh’s press conference Friday morning. “We’re ready. We’re fired up. Let’s get to work.”
The schedule for the rest of the city’s meetings is as follows:
February 24, 6:30 p.m. – Condon School Cafeteria, 200 D St., South Boston
March 31, 6:30 p.m. – Harvard Business School, (building to be determined)
April 12, 6:30 p.m. – Roxbury Community College, 1234 Columbus Ave., Roxbury
May 19, 6:30 p.m. – Cleveland Community Center, 11 Charles St., Dorchester
June 30, 6:30 p.m. – English High School, 144 McBride St., Jamaica Plain
July 28, 6:30 p.m. – Mildred School, 5 Mildred Ave., Boston
August 25, 6:30 p.m. – Ohrenberger School, 175 West Boundary Rd., West Roxbury
September 29, 6:30 p.m. – East Boston High School, 86 White St., East Boston