Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and U.S. Olympic Committee officials will offer new details on Friday about the city’s hopes to host the 2024 Olympic Games, as many residents of the New England city cheered the possibility.
Boston was selected on Thursday as the American candidate city that will bid to host the 2024 Olympics, taking the first strides in a gruelling marathon to bring the Summer Games back to the United States for the first time since 1996.
Boston, which has never hosted an Olympics, was unveiled as the surprise pick over two-time host Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington following the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) board meeting in Colorado.
The group that had been advocating for Boston has suggested that the large stadiums around the city, including the homes of the New England Patriots football team and Boston Red Sox baseball team could play a role in housing the games.
The USOC’s decision was greeted mainly with enthusiasm from Boston residents and politicians, including failed 2012 presidential candidate and former governor Mitt Romney, who played a key role in organising the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
“It’s a very good thing. Whether they are ultimately successful or not, it’s going to allow the state to have a number of conversations about infrastructure, about planning and security that will outlive any Olympic bid,” said Peter Ubertaccio, chairman of the political science department at Stonehill College in Easton, south of Boston.
Chris Carpentier, a software developer, said that while he was excited about the possibility of Boston hosting the Olympic Games, he was also worried about the potential cost to taxpayers. “The concerns are, will the city and state get their money’s worth, and what gets left behind?” he said.
The Russian city of Sochi spent a staggering $US51 billion in staging last year’s Winter Olympics, with the future of many of the venues in doubt.
Boston is no stranger to expensive infrastructure programs given the city’s Big Dig project, a state initiative from the 1980s to bury a raised highway that for years had split the city in two and that was famous for its huge costs.
Boston will compete against Rome and Germany, which has announced that it will bid through Berlin or Hamburg, and a number of other potential bidders around the globe.
“If we won this,” said Glenn Wood, a Boston attorney, “we’d be pumped.”
(Editing by Ken Wills)
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