Boston ends bid for 2024 Olympics; USOC wants another city

Boston 2024
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Boston will not bid for the 2024 Olympics, but another U.S. city just might.

The USOC is withdrawing the bid that it first announced Jan. 8, after Boston mayor Marty Walsh said that he would not sign a document on Monday that could put taxpayers at risk if there are cost overruns.

The USOC “would very much” like to have another U.S. city bid for the 2024 Olympics, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement.

“We are out of time if the USOC is going to be able to consider a bid from another city,” Blackmun said. “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.”

The deadline to submit a bid to the International Olympic Committee for the 2024 Olympics is Sept. 15. IOC members will vote to choose the 2024 Olympic host city in 2017.

The other three U.S. bid cities that Boston beat out in a Jan. 8 announcement were Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement that his office hasn’t had recent conversations with the USOC, according to NBC Los Angeles.

“I continue to believe that Los Angeles is the ideal Olympic city, and we have always supported the USOC in their effort to return the Games to the United States,” Garcetti said, according to NBC Los Angeles. “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.”

D.C. 2024’s chairman issued a statement that made no mention of possible interest of rekindling a bid.

Cities confirmed to be bidding for the 2024 Olympics so far are Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome. Toronto may bid.

The U.S. is in the midst of its longest stretch between hosting Olympics since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960. It last hosted a Summer Games in 1996 (Atlanta) and a Winter Games in 2002 (Salt Lake City).

2024 Olympic bidding coverage

Here are statements from the USOC and Boston 2024:

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.

Diana Taurasi says 2024 Paris Olympics ‘on my radar’

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi said immediately after winning her fifth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo that she might try for a record sixth in Paris.

It’s still on her mind 17 months out of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s something that it’s on my radar,” Taurasi told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday after the first day of a USA Basketball training camp in Minnesota, her first national team activity since Tokyo. “I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA Basketball.”

Taurasi will be 42 at the time of the Paris Games — older than any previous Olympic basketball player — but said if she’s healthy enough she’d like to give it a go.

“If the opportunity comes to play and be a part of it, it’s something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in,” said Taurasi, who shares the record of five Olympic basketball gold medals with the retired Sue Bird. “When you get to my age at this point in my career, you just try to win every day. Right now this is a good opportunity to be part of this team moving forward we’ll see what happens.”

She said she would have played at the FIBA World Cup last year in Australia, but had a quad strain that kept her out of the end of the WNBA season.

“I got hurt a little bit before. I had a good conversation with Coach (Cheryl) Reeve and (USA Basketball CEO Jim) Tooley. I felt like I hadn’t played enough basketball to be out there and help,” Taurasi said. “That’s the biggest thing with USA Basketball is being able to help the team win.”

Reeve said Monday that when she succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach a few months after Tokyo, she wasn’t sure whether Taurasi would play for the national team again. That was before her conversation with Taurasi.

“I look forward to having a chance to have her be around and be, as I told her, a great voice,” Reeve said. “Obviously, the competitive fire that she competes with is something that we all do well with.”

In Tokyo, Taurasi started all six games and averaged 18.8 minutes per game, sixth-most on the team (fewer than backup guard Chelsea Gray). Her 5.8 points per game were her fewest in her Olympic career, though she was dealing with a hip injury.

Taurasi is an unrestricted free agent although she is expected to return back to Phoenix where she’s spent her entire career since getting drafted No. 1 overall in 2003.

“Phoenix still has things they need to work out,” the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer said.

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Alexis Pinturault wins world championships combined; American in fourth

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France’s Alexis Pinturault won the world Alpine skiing championships combined at his home venue after defending world champion Marco Schwarz blew a lead in the final seconds of his slalom run.

Pinturault, a 31-year-old who hadn’t won a race in nearly two years (the longest drought of his distinguished career), prevailed by one tenth of a second over the Austrian Schwarz in Courchevel, France.

“I hope to enjoy it because it was pretty difficult some months ago,” Pinturault said.

Austrian Raphael Haaser took bronze in an event that combined times from a morning super-G run and an afternoon slalom run, one day after his older sister took bronze in the women’s combined.

River Radamus was fourth, a quarter of a second from becoming the first U.S. man to win an Alpine worlds medal since 2015. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom, which is scheduled for Feb. 17 at worlds.

“It’s nice, but honestly, you don’t come to world championships hoping to get fourth,” Radamus said.

Five skiers finished within 2.98 seconds of the winner in an event that has been dropped from the annual World Cup schedule and is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Pinturault had the fastest super-G run by six hundredths over Schwarz. Schwarz, a slightly better slalom skier than Pinturault, erased that deficit early in the slalom and had a three tenths lead at the last intermediate split.

He gave it all away about six gates from the finish, slamming on the brakes. Moments later, he crossed the finish line one tenth behind Pinturault, who reacted by pumping his fists in the air.

The Frenchman earned his first race victory since the March 2021 World Cup Finals giant slalom, where he clinched his first World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. Last season, Pinturault went winless on the World Cup for the first time since he was a teenage rookie in 2011, plus went medal-less at the Olympics.

Pinturault, who grew up in Courchevel and now co-owns the family’s five-star Hotel Annapurna there, had retirement cross his mind in the offseason, according to Eurosport. He skipped a pre-worlds Sunday press conference due to illness.

Nonetheless, Pinturault was on the front page of French newspapers this week, including L’Equipe on Tuesday. In a sports cover story for Le Figaro, Pinturault said that, given the circumstances, it would be almost a “nice surprise” to go for a medal at these worlds.

Olympic champion Johannes Strolz of Austria skied out of the slalom after tying for 29th in the super-G.

Olympic silver and bronze medalists Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway and Jack Crawford of Canada were among the speed specialists who did not start the slalom. They essentially used the event as a training run for Thursday’s super-G.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the women’s super-G, where Mikaela Shiffrin is a medal contender but not the favorite. She can tie the modern-era records for individual world championships gold medals (seven) and total medals (12).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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