The U.S. Olympic Committee has selected Boston as its candidate city for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games. The USOC board of directors met in Denver to choose between what had been four finalist cities. The decision to select Boston over Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., came after what the USOC described as a “spirited” discussion and more than one round of votes. Boston ultimately received a unanimous endorsement by the board, according to the USOC.
“We’re excited about our plans to submit a bid for the 2024 Games and feel we have an incredibly strong partner in Boston that will work with us to present a compelling bid,” said USOC Chairman Larry Probst. “We’re grateful to the leaders in each of the four cities for their partnership and interest in hosting the most exciting sports competition on Earth. The deliberative and collaborative process that we put in place for selecting a city has resulted in a strong U.S. bid that can truly serve the athletes and the Olympic and Paralympic movements.”
Boston had proposed the most compact Games of the four finalists, with venues located in under-utilized areas near existing or planned public transit lines as well as a “partially or entirely” temporary stadium that would be built for the opening and closing ceremonies. Each of the four finalist cities made presentations to the USOC board in December, prompting the board at the time to announce it would submit a bid for the Games with one of the cities. The U.S. has not hosted an Olympic Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996. The four finalists were culled from an initial list that included 35 of the largest cities in the United States.
The International Olympic Committee’s deadline for 2024 bid submissions is September 15, 2015. A host city will be chosen in 2017. Boston is expected to have competition from European cities including Rome and Paris, as well as a city in South Africa. Several other cities have expressed interest in bidding for the Games as well.
“Today’s decision begins the next phase in our 2024 bid campaign, and we couldn’t be more excited about the partnership we’ve established with the leadership team in Boston,” said Scott Blackmun, CEO of the USOC. “This bid uniquely combines an exciting, athlete-focused concept for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games with Boston’s existing long-term vision. We look forward to working with Mayor (Marty) Walsh and the Boston 2024 team to fully engage with the local community and identify ways we can make the bid even better.”
Walsh called the decision an “exceptional honor.” “This selection is in recognition of our city’s talent, diversity and global leadership,” he said. “Our goal is to host Olympic and Paralympic Games that are innovative, walkable and hospitable to all. Boston hopes to welcome the world’s greatest athletes to one of the world’s great cities.”
“Today’s selection by the USOC is the beginning of an incredible opportunity for Boston,” said Boston 2024 Chairman John Fish. “This bid has already provided our many educational institutions, community and business leaders, and elected officials a unique opportunity to collaborate like never before to promote our city to the world. Going forward, Boston 2024 is committed to a thorough and extensive process to discuss the potential opportunity the Olympic and Paralympic Games present our community. Boston is a global hub for education, health care, research and technology. We are passionate about sports because we believe in the power of sport to transform our city and inspire the world’s youth. A Boston Games can be one of the most innovative, sustainable and exciting in history and will inspire the next generation of leaders here and around the world.”
The move also drew praise from several national governing body leaders. “Boston is a tremendous sports town and will rally around becoming America’s choice for the 2024 Olympic Games,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “Given the city’s strong sense of patriotism along with its very diverse base of citizens, it offers a wonderful stage for the world’s most important sports event.”
“Boston is well-known for its passionate support of its sports teams, and that will carry over to make it an extraordinary Olympic Games host,” said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming executive director. “This is a fantastic opportunity to grow the sport of swimming in Boston and the New England region, with additional participation opportunities, enhanced aquatic facilities and an avid support base of swim parents.”
The IOC intends to meet with representatives from each applicant city in October, in Lausanne, Switzerland, to establish rules and procedures for the international bidding campaign. Cities will then have until January 8, 2016, to submit final bids to the IOC.
“The Olympic Games are unique in their ability to bring the world together in celebration and unity,” said IOC Executive Board Member Anita DeFrantz. “I very much want to bring the Games to the United States to share the incredible spirit of the Games with another generation of Americans, and advance the Olympic and Paralympic movements.”