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Boston Wins U.S. Olympic Bid for Summer 2024: Now What?

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If the International Olympic Committee awards the 2024 Summer Games to the United States, they will be in Boston.

The United States Olympic Committee kept everyone guessing in mid-December when they announced the U.S. would bid for the 2024 Games. At the time, they said the choice was a four-way tie between finalists Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C. As the committee met at the Denver Airport on Thursday, few outside of Boston considered the city a favorite.


In the end, Boston was the Olympic Committee's choice, but the decision was far from easy. According to the USOC's official statement, "The decision followed a spirited discussion and more than one round of voting. Ultimately, the Boston bid received the unanimous endorsement of the USOC’s board of directors."

Los Angeles Times reporter David Wharton summed up the decision to deny a third Games to the Southern California metropolis:

"The Summer Games had been here twice before, in 1932 and 1984, and both times were successful. From the Rose Bowl southward to StubHub Center, there were ample stadiums and arenas in place.

But, in the end, it seems that city officials could not overcome a sense of been-there, done-that, losing out Thursday afternoon when the U.S. Olympic Committee unexpectedly named Boston as the nation’s official bid candidate."

Robert Livingstone, who tracks Olympic bids for his website Gamesbids.com, called the vote a "surprise to many who expected the honor to go to one of the rumored favorites from California" but added that Boston might have an advantage in the next stage of the selection process. "Boston’s bid hopes its mix of existing and temporary venues, along with strong sports culture, will appeal to the IOC," Livingstone wrote.

But longtime Olympic observer and Chicago Tribune reporter Philip Hersh warned that Boston, as a first-time Olympic bid city, faces challenges.

"Only three first-time international bidders have won the Summer Games since what Olympic historian Bill Mallon identifies as the beginning of 'real voting' – the 1924 Summer Games.  They are Melbourne (1956), Munich (1972) and Atlanta (1996).

'A city that has tried once before and lost has in my opinion a better chance than a newcomer,' said Peter Tallberg of Finland, second in seniority among IOC members, in an email.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh praised the choice saying, "Our goal is to host an 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."

The International Olympic Committee recently approved changes to the bidding process meant to make hosting the Games less expensive and more attractive to host nations. As a result, Boston might face increased competition for the 2024 Games. Rome and a German city-to-be-named-later have already signaled their intention to bid. Competition is also expected from Paris, which would be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1924 Paris Olympics, and South Africa, which would be the first African nation to host the Games.

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