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.