Larry Probst

Boston 2024

USOC has ‘100 percent’ confidence in Boston 2024

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U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said the “first and foremost” priority for Boston’s 2024 Olympic bid is to “assure the people of Boston that this is a fiscally responsible bid.”

“I have 100 percent confidence that Boston 2024 will be able to do that,” Blackmun said Friday, after Boston bid leaders gave a progress report to the USOC in Washington, D.C.

Blackmun referenced a Boston radio station February poll that resulted in 44 percent of Boston-area residents supporting the 2024 Olympic bid.

The pollster who conducted the survey of 505 Boston-area registered voters told the radio station that a drop in support (from 51 percent in January) had to do with concern over where money should best be spent given recent snowstorms causing public transit problems.

“Do we wish that the approval ratings were higher than 44 percent? Absolutely, we do,” Blackmun said. “But, candidly, it’s much more important that those numbers be high 2 1/2 years from now than it is that they be high now. We have plenty of time to allow this trajectory to unfold and complete confidence in Boston 2024’s ability to do that.”

The International Olympic Committee will vote in 2017 to pick the 2024 Olympic host city. Boston is going up against Rome, either Berlin or Hamburg and possibly Paris, among other cities.

“I think Boston is where they need to be right now,” Blackmun said. “I think they purposefully waited to socialize this plan fully with their community until they were named [as the U.S. bid city on Jan. 8].”

Boston 2024 launched a series of 20 community meetings across Massachusetts in 20 weeks, providing a forum for public input.

“I think the people who are asking questions are asking the right questions,” Blackmun said. “This is exactly the point of the process that we should be in.”

USOC leadership said it asked Boston’s bid group about those polling results and its communication strategy, along with a discussion of how well Boston’s plan fits with the International Olympic Committee’s vision for future Olympics.

Blackmun pointed to more than 60 percent of potential Boston Olympic venues being related to colleges and universities, so they could still be used after the Games, and the Boston plan being more walkable than a lot of recent Olympics.

“I think that after this process runs its course, the people in 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. “I think the answer to that question is going to be yes.”

2024 Olympics news

USOC likely to narrow list of 2024 cities on June 10

Olympic Rings
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The U.S. Olympic Committee will likely choose two or three finalist cities for its potential 2024 Olympic bid at a June 10 meeting in Boston.

The finalists will likely come from a list that includes Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington. New York and Philadelphia’s mayors said their cities were not interested.

“Those cities won’t be made public,” USOC chairman Larry Probst told Sports Business Daily. “We are going to try to manage this process so no one’s feelings get hurt or no one is spending too much money on a bid. … We have to believe we have a pretty significant chance of winning that competition. It has to be as close to perfect as possible, but I think there is a feeling that the Games have to come back to the United States.”

The U.S. has not bid since Chicago lost the 2016 Olympic election to Rio de Janeiro in 2009. The U.S. has not hosted an Olympics since the 2002 Winter Games, its longest drought since a stretch from 1932 to 1960.

The USOC is expected to decide if it will bid for the 2024 Olympics, and which city, by the end of the year.

No official 2024 Olympic bids have been submitted yet, though Paris and Rome have been talked about.

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USOC will focus on 2024 Olympic bid after Sochi Games

Scott Blackmun
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The U.S. Olympic Committee won’t narrow down its list of candidate cities for a 2024 Olympic bid until after the Sochi Games.

A USOC group scheduled visits to potential bid cities including Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco, Around the Rings reported in November. City visits will continue into December and January, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said after a board of directors meeting Tuesday.

“We’re on track to make our decision by the end of 2014, whether we want to bid, and if we do, who our city would be,” said Blackmun, who didn’t want to discuss individual U.S. cities yet but said the USOC is in “active discussions” with less than 10.

The earliest the USOC would “make changes to the list” would probably be in April. The International Olympic Committee will select the host city for the 2024 Olympics in 2017.

“It is our intention to bid for 2024, if all of the elements that we had talked about previously are in place,” USOC chairman Larry Probst said. “That obviously includes: do we have the right message, do we have the right technical plans, do we have the right bid leaders, do we have the financial support from the local community, do we have governmental support. So a lot of things have to fall in place.”

IOC president Thomas Bach said last week he thinks “it’s time for the United States to present a strong bid.”

Probst said he’s heard “a lot of encouragement” from IOC members in travels to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lausanne, Switzerland, and Rome the last few months.

The U.S. hasn’t hosted an Olympics since the 2002 Winter Games and is in the middle of its longest stretch between hosting Olympics since a 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960. The USOC sent letters to more than three dozen cities earlier this year to gauge interest in potentially hosting the Olympics.

It is conducting a more informal process of selecting a host city than for the 2016 Olympics, when cities spent north of $10 million trying to earn the U.S. bid. It went to Chicago, which lost in the first round of IOC voting eventually won by Rio de Janeiro.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously backed a group exploring whether the California city should make a bid for the 2024 Olympics on Tuesday. The chairman said San Diego hosting the Games is “probably a long shot,” according to ABC News in San Diego.

Other potential 2024 bids could come from Paris, Italy and South Africa.

In other news, Blackmun said the USOC hoped Jesse Owens‘ gold medal that is being auctioned will end up “in a place that people can see it.”

Blackmun was asked if he thought the tearing down of the 1996 Olympic Stadium (Turner Field) could hurt a potential U.S. bid, given that it could be perceived the U.S. isn’t concerned enough with creating a long-lasting legacy after hosting a Games.

“if that’s our biggest issue, I think our bid’s going to be pretty strong,” he said.

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