United States Olympic Committee selects Boston as nation’s candidate for summer games.
By James Irwin
The Olympics might be coming to the United States in 2024, but the games won’t take place in Washington, D.C.
In meetings Thursday afternoon at Denver International Airport, United States Olympic Committee board members selected Boston out of four U.S. finalists as its candidate to bid on the 2024 summer games, a decision that followed “a spirited discussion and more than one round of voting,” the USOC said in a statement.
“We’re excited about our plans to submit a bid for the 2024 games and feel we have an incredibly strong partner in Boston that will work with us to present a compelling bid,” USOC Chair Larry Probst said in the statement. “We’re grateful to the leaders in each of the four cities for their partnership and interest in hosting the most exciting sports competition on earth.”
D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco also were under consideration by the USOC as possible sites for an international bid. Representatives from each city made presentations in December meetings in Redwood City, Calif., which ended with the USOC board revealing intent to enter a formal bid with the International Olympic Committee. The USOC waited a month to decide on its candidate city.
DC 2024 Chair W. Russell Ramsey, B.B.A. ’81, then-Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser (D), Washington Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, Olympian swimmer Katie Ledecky and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue advocated on behalf of D.C. at the Redwood City meetings.
Mr. Ramsey, who spent 15 years as first a member and later the chair of the George Washington University Board of Trustees, had pushed hard for D.C. to host the summer games, citing the District’s mass transit options, walkable communities and existing sports arenas and stadiums as strengths of the area. Residence and athletics facilities at local colleges and universities were expected to factor into the DC 2024 plan as possible training and housing options for athletes before the games, he said in an October interview with George Washington Today.
A November Washington Post report had outlined possible details of the D.C. proposal, with the site of RFK Stadium considered the preferred location of an Olympic Stadium, and the site of D.C. General homeless shelter serving as the Olympic Village.
“It was an honor to work with dozens of leaders from across the capital region to envision how the Olympic Games would advance the goals of this community and foster greater unity,” Mr. Ramsey said in a statement issued by DC 2024. “I grew up in this city and have seen firsthand how sport can be a force for good and how incredibly impactful it can be on a young person’s life. I remain deeply hopeful that the Olympic Games will return to the U.S. in 2024 and remain committed to working with the leaders of this region to ensure opportunities for our youth to pursue Olympic dreams.”
The United States has not hosted the summer edition of the Olympics since the 1996 games in Atlanta, an Olympics marked by the Centennial Olympic Park bombing. Los Angeles, considered an early front-runner for the country’s 2024 bid, hosted the Summer Olympics in 1932 and 1984.
Boston has never hosted the games.
Formal application papers to host the summer 2024 games must be filed with the International Olympic Committee by Sept. 15. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced in December that Rome will enter a formal bid. The Italian capital city hosted the summer games in 1960. Several other cities—including Paris, Johannesburg and Melbourne—have shown interest in hosting the games. Paris, which hosted the 1924 Summer Olympics, ran unsuccessful campaigns to host in 1992, 2008 and 2012.
The IOC will name the host city for the 2024 Olympics in September 2017, at its annual meeting in Lima, Peru.