Local reaction supports USOC ending Boston 2024’s Olympic bid

The United States Olympic Committee has withdrawn Boston 2024’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, citing the lack of public support, according to a statement released by USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun on July 27.

Franklin Park was slated to host several Olympic events, such as the pentathlon and equestrian events. Jamaica Plain came out against the bid effort during a City-held community meeting in June.

Chris Hoeh of the Franklin Park Area Stop Boston Olympics group said in a phone interview he is “ecstatic” and that it is a “tremendous relief” that the USOC has ended Boston 2024’s bid. He said he was worried he would have to spend years fighting the bid effort.

Hoeh also criticized Mayor Martin Walsh for saying during a press conference before the USOC announcement that the opposition was ten people on Twitter. He said that the opposition was raising questions that the mayor should have been asking.

“We took the time to really look into this,” said Hoeh.

He said that now that the Olympic bid effort is over, he could attend a youth soccer meeting instead of going to a scheduled City-held Olympic meeting in Mattapan. That meeting was eventually cancelled. Hoeh said the “one good thing” that came out of the bid effort was that he connected with other people who want to spend “a lot of time and energy” into “building a better Boston.”

NoBoston2024, an anti-Olympics protest group that held its first meeting in Jamaica Plain last year, said in a statement that it was “very pleased” to hear that the USOC was pulling the bid.

“This victory for the people of Boston is the result of tireless work of numerous activists and residents across the city, region and state speaking up against this anti-democratic land grab,” said the statement. “However, the effort to ensure that the city of Boston works for all of its residents does not end here, and we plan to continue the fight for a more equitable, just and sustainable city—a fight made easier without an unwelcome Olympic-sized distraction.”

The Franklin Park Coalition said in a released statement that it was “thrilled” to see the spotlight turned on the park during the bid process and now that it has been withdrawn, wants to see that “plans to invest in the park don’t fade back into the shadows.”

“The city, state, foundations and corporations who worked together on the Olympic bid should remain focused on opportunities to invest in our city, including Franklin Park. Despite the end of the Olympic plans, we hope those powerful forces will make the major investments that have long been needed in Franklin Park,” said the statement.

Jamaica Plain City Councilor Matt O’Malley, an early proponent of bringing the Games to Boston who later became more skeptical, said in a phone interview that the USOC move was “unsurprising.”

“Boston 2024 really seemed to be a little out of touch with the growing skepticism and concerns with the bid,” he said.

O’Malley said he was “glad” the bid was pulled, as it was becoming “a distraction of late” and now the focus can go on to “more important issues moving forward.”

Blackmun said in the statement that despite the “promise” of the original bid and the “soundness” of bid 2.0, the majority of Boston residents have not supported the effort. He said that the level of support enjoyed by the bid would not allow it to prevail over other bids from Paris, Rome, Hamburg, Budapest or Toronto.

“Boston 2024 has expressed confidence that, with more time, they could generate the public support necessary to win the bid and deliver a great Games,” said Blackmun. “They also recognize, however, that we are out of time if the USOC is going to be able to consider a bid from another city. As a result, we have reached a mutual agreement to withdraw Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Blackmun said that the USOC would still like to see a United States city host the 2024 Olympics.

Walsh said in a released statement that he believed bringing the Olympics to Boston would be “good for our country” and would have brought “long-term benefits to Boston.”

“However, no benefit is so great that it is worth handing over the financial future of our City and our citizens were rightly hesitant to be supportive as a result,” said Walsh in the statement. “We always anticipated having the time to do our due diligence on the guarantees required and a full review of the risk and mitigation package proposed last week. This is a monumental decision that cannot be rushed, even if it means not moving forward with our bid for the 2024 Summer Games.”


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