Boston is going for the gold. Early next month, the US Olympic Committee (USOC) is expected to name the American city that will compete on the international stage for the 2024 Olympic Games. Boston is one of the four finalists, along with Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC.
Earlier this month, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston 2024 delegation presented its proposal to the USOC, and came away confident of Boston’s chances. “One of the things they look for is legacy and sustainability of a city. Really we’re in very strong shape as far as the future of the city,”
Mayor Walsh said.
The quest to submit an Olympic bid got underway in October 2013 when Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill submitted by state Senator Eileen Donoghue of Lowell to create a Special Commission that would explore the feasibility and cost of this massive undertaking. The 11-member commission vetted the key issues of cost, infrastructure, transportation, security needs, and local support, and in February 2014 came back with an affirmative decision.
Mindful of the enormous amount of resources and collaboration needed and the complexity of hosting the games, the Special Commission embraced the challenges “as an opportunity to leverage an Olympics to catalyze and accelerate the economic development and infrastructure improvements necessary to ensure that Massachusetts can compete globally now and into the future.”
In addition to garnering the resources, planning and collective willpower needed to carry out an Olympic event, Massachusetts can also accentuate its illustrious tradition of pride in its sports and top athletes. Massachusetts’ connection to the Olympics dates back to 1896, when the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece. At that event, nine of the fourteen American athletes were from Boston, and 13 of the 20 medals awarded to the USA went to Boston athletes.
The following year, in 1897, the Boston Athletic Association launched the first amateur marathon race, which has since spawned hundreds of marathons across the world. The Boston Marathon remains one of the world’s most prestigious races, with over 35,000 runners participating in 2014, resulting in a $175 million economic impact, according to the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
In professional sports, Boston has rightly been called the City of Champions, with the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins and New England Patriots winning a combined eight championship titles since 2000. Basketball and Volleyball were both invented in Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Sports Office, which plays a supportive role in bidding on major sporting events like the 2014 Winter Olympic US Figure Skating Championships last winter, and a variety of NCAA sporting events in collegiate sports.
Massachusetts is already an international destination, thanks to its world class innovation economy, academic institutions, medical facilities, and rich cultural and natural landscapes. Tourism is the third largest employer in Massachusetts with 128,000 jobs and $16.9 billion in direct spending, according to Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism. And Massport’s steady expansion of international air routes at Boston’s Logan International Airport continues to serve as the gateway to New England, with 76 domestic and 42 international destinations, handling over 30 million passengers each year.
So best wishes to Boston 2024 as it seeks to bring the Olympics home to Massachusetts in 2024.