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Walsh: USOC, IOC Kept 'Raising The Bar On Boston' Olympic Bid

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday. (Joshua Paul/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday. (Joshua Paul/AP)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is pushing back against comments from IOC President Thomas Bach, who said Wednesday that Boston was firmly to blame for its aborted bid for the 2024 Olympics and that the city failed to deliver on "promises" made to U.S. Olympic leaders.

It was the International Olympic Committee leader's first extensive comments on the demise of the Boston bid, which was dropped Monday amid poor public support, strong local opposition and lack of full political commitment.

"From the outside, I gave up following [the bid's troubles]," Bach said. "It was pretty confusing. Every day there was a new project coming from Boston or new people and new ideas. I really gave up following it in detail. But what we could see in a nutshell what happened there is that Boston did not deliver on promises they made to the USOC when they were selected."

Mayor Walsh, speaking with Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson, rejected that claim. He said the U.S. Olympic Committee kept "raising the bar on Boston" with respect to IOC rules requiring host cities to commit to paying for any cost overruns.

"I don't know about Thomas Bach, but I represent people, and I'm not going to allow taxpayer money to be used to fix a problem they clearly have internally, the IOC," Walsh said.

Walsh said the IOC needs to fix that requirement and that the USOC also has concerns about it.

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Bach also said Wednesday the IOC has a "commitment" from the USOC that it will put forward a bid city for 2024, though he declined to endorse any other contender. Los Angeles is considered the USOC's likely choice ahead of the Sept. 15 deadline for official submission of candidates.

Walsh said during the Here & Now interview that he would support an LA bid.

"One of the first calls I received after we won the bid was, I got a text from Mayor Garcetti from LA congratulating me and wishing me well, and I would do the same to him," Walsh said.

The USOC cut ties with Boston on Monday, with less than two months to find a replacement for a race that includes Paris; Rome; Hamburg, Germany; and Budapest, Hungary. Toronto and Baku, Azerbaijan, are also likely contenders.

Bach is determined to have a strong candidate from the U.S., which hasn't hosted a Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996.

"For us the situation has not changed," he said. "We had a commitment from USOC for an Olympic candidature for 2024. We have this commitment. We're sure that USOC will deliver on this commitment, and that we will have on the 15th of September, a bid from the United States.

"The United States is one of the few countries in the world who has the luxury of having a number of cities which are capable of organizing Olympic Games," he added.

Bach wouldn't comment on the prospect of a bid from Los Angeles, which staged the 1932 and 1984 Olympics and now seems poised for a shot at joining London as a three-time host. Several IOC executive board members have already spoken in favor of a Los Angeles bid.

"It is now an internal issue for USOC to determine the most appropriate city," Bach said. "It's not up to the IOC to give unsolicited advice on this. I'm sure that USOC will find the best solution."

Bach also said he hopes the decision on the next U.S. bid city will involve discussions that are "a little bit more oriented on facts than emotions."

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

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