Boston drops Olympic bid
Eyes now turn to Los Angeles to revive hopes of another U.S. Games
Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics was undercut by its own mayor, its skeptical public and, finally, leaders of the U.S. Olympic Committee, who were tired of the city’s ever-changing blueprint.
Next, it may be time to see if there’s more Olympic love in Los Angeles.
After the USOC and Boston cut ties on Monday, CEO Scott Blackmun said the federation still wants to try to host the 2024 Games. The USOC has until Sept. 15 to officially name its candidate. Several Olympic leaders have quietly been pushing Los Angeles — the city that invented the modern-day template for the Olympics when it played host in 1984 — as the best possible substitute.
Approval ratings that couldn’t sneak out of the 40s were the first sign of trouble for Boston, and it became clear the bid was doomed in the 72-hour period before the USOC board met with bid leaders Monday and they jointly decided to pull the plug.
On Friday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker stuck to his previous position: That he’d need a full report from a consulting group before he would throw his weight behind the bid. On Monday morning, Mayor Marty Walsh slapped together a news conference to announce he wouldn’t be pressured into signing the host city contract that essentially sticks the city and state with the burden of any cost overruns.
No governor. No mayor. No bid.
“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,” Blackmun said. “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.”
The Boston bid started souring within days of its beginning in January, beset by poor communication and an active opposition group that kept public support low. At his news conference, Walsh said the opposition to the Olympics amounted to about “10 people on Twitter.” He miscalculated, and the Internet struck back. The hashtag #10peopleonTwitter started trending.
The chairs of No Boston Olympics planned a celebration at a Boston pub.
“We need to move forward as a city, and today’s decision allows us to do that on our own terms, not the terms of the USOC or the IOC,” they said in a statement. “We’re better off for having passed on Boston 2024.”
Boston 2024 chairman Steve Pagliuca said the move was made “in order to give the Olympic movement in the United States the best chance to bring the Games back to our country in 2024.”
The United States hasn’t hosted a Summer Olympics since the Atlanta Games in 1996, or any Olympics since the Salt Lake City Winter Games in 2002. Bids for 2012 (New York) and 2016 (Chicago) both ended in fourth-place embarrassments.
The USOC spent nearly two years on a mostly secret domestic selection process for 2024 that began with letters to almost three dozen cities gauging interest in hosting the games.
In this Feb. 5, 2015, file photo, people hold up placards against the Olympic Games coming to Boston during the first public forum regarding the city's 2024 Olympic bid in Boston.