Despite strong, organized opposition from Bostonians, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has officially nominated the Boston 2024 Olympic bid as the U.S. bid for the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad, more commonly known as the 2024 Summer Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will select the host city sometime in 2017 at an IOC meeting in Lima, Peru; this vote is currently scheduled for September 15, 2017. The Boston bid will compete against bids by Rome, Italy, either Berlin, Germany or Hamburg, Germany, and possibly several bids by other cities in other countries for the IOC’s selection.
Make no mistake about it, the only way I would support a Boston Olympic bid is if it went to a statewide referendum in Massachusetts, preferably one held at the same time as the 2016 presidential election, and won.
Past Olympics, most notably the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, and the Montreal 1976 Summer Olympics, have become notorious for large amounts of money, including the taxpayer money of the host country’s citizens, being spent on venues that were built specifically for one or more Olympic sports and are/were of little or no post-Olympic use. Especially in the case of Athens 2004, many venues were left vacant, but still standing, after the games, becoming public eyesores and a symbol of the collapse of the Greek economy that was triggered by the Great Recession. It’s also worth noting that the last city of comparable size to Boston that hosted a Summer Olympics was Athens in 2004, in fact, Boston is a slightly smaller city than Athens (Boston has a population of 617,594 per the 2010 U.S. Census, Athens has a population of 664,606 per the 2011 Greek Census).
I am calling for Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts General Assembly to put a statewide referendum on the ballot, preferably scheduled for the same time as the November 2016 presidential election, on whether or not Boston should be allowed to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Additionally, I am calling for the Boston 2024 Olympic organizers to use as little federal, state, and local taxpayer money as possible, utilize as many pre-existing sports venues as possible, and to have a plan in place for post-Olympic use for every single permanent venue that will be utilized and/or built for the 2024 Olympics if Boston were to be selected by the IOC to host the Games.