Summer 2024 might be more than a decade from now, but some Bostonians are already looking towards the possibility of Boston hosting the 2024 Olympic Games. The city is buzzing at the news of the recent activity of a committee formed to help bring the 2024 Games to Boston.
Proponents say that hosting the Olympics would give both Boston’s public and private sectors a much needed jolt, but opponents contend that Boston physically does not have the infrastructure and funds to facilitate such a huge undertaking. The Olympic games might be great for Boston, but in reality, many argue that it is far from an ideal Olympic city.
Boston lacks a venue for Olympic track and field events, so the only way for the city to host the games would be to build an Olympic stadium like the one that was built for the London 2012 games. Consequently, one of the biggest proponents of Boston’s bid is John Fish, who runs Suffolk Construction Company. Suffolk is the city’s biggest construction company and Fish’s repertoire includes the Boston Opera House and One Channel Center.
Fish has gotten rich building Boston, and an Olympic bid would be a gold mine for his company. London’s Olympic Stadium cost the equivalent of more than $300 million. Boston’s advocates also see hosting the Games as an opportunity to clean up its infamous public transportation system. Fish has discussed how the Games could make a better Boston: one with new hotels, cleaner streets and public transit that runs later 12:15 a.m.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, an ally of Mitt Romney and Fish, has also recently been pushing for the construction of a 30,000 seat stadium for the New England Revolution Major League Soccer Team in Boston. Proponents say that an 80,000 seat Olympic stadium could be downsized after the Games to accommodate Kraft’s purpose.
Another champion of the Boston 2024 cause is former governor and 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee, Mitt Romney. Romney ran the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, and is now serving as a “key adviser” to those involved in bolstering Boston’s Olympic bid.
“[Hosting the 2024 Olympics] would be a marvelous community-building experience for Boston, and I think the people who would enjoy the Games with or without tickets would say it was one of the best experiences of their life,” said Romney to the Boston Globe.
Romney, Kraft and Fish have joined forces with former Boston Police commissioner, Ed Davis, and former Massachusetts transportation secretary, Jeff Mullan, to form a powerful team advocating for Boston to host the Games.
The harsh reality, however, is that the city can hardly handle rush hour. It doesn’t take more than a few snowflakes to slow everything down considerably, and the city rarely finishes a construction project on time. Building a $300 million Olympic stadium would be a huge undertaking with a fixed deadline looming overhead. In order to make a strong Olympic bid, Boston would have to prove that it is capable of providing the facilities needed by the beginning of the Games.
Since hosting the 2024 Olympic Games would be “like 20 Super Bowls all at once,” as Romney put it, the endeavor would require the entire transportation system to be redone and millions of dollars in public and private funding. Boston would have to build an Olympic village with a brand new stadium and aquatics center in addition to utilizing Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, the TD Garden and Franklin Park. All in all, hosting the Olympic Games is a lot of work and would be incredibly difficult for Boston, but, of course, no other city is Boston Strong.
For up-to-date information on the Boston 2024 bid, visit www.boston-2024.org and follow @Boston2024 on Twitter.Featured image via Tim Hipps/Wikimedia Commons.