BOSTON – Boston's bid for the 2024 Summer Games won over the national governing body with a cost-effective and athlete-friendly proposal that would help reverse the trend toward ever-more expensive Olympics.
One day after the U.S. Olympic Committee selected Boston as the American nominee over San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, local bid organizers said Friday they will draw on the more than 100 colleges in the area to host events and house athletes and media — and save millions or billions in construction costs.
"There is no other state or city in America that has that," bid chairman John Fish said Friday in a news conference attended by USOC executives, former athletes and local elected officials. "All those universities have a majority of those facilities that we need, and if they don't they are planning for the future."
Boston's victory in the first stage means its bid will be presented in September to the IOC, which will vote on the host city in 2017. Rome has already jumped in, and France, Germany, Hungary and South Africa are also expected to submit bids.
USOC chairman Larry Probst said Boston's bid was in harmony with the recent IOC reforms, called Olympic Agenda 2020, designed to reduce the cost of bidding for and hosting the games. The measures recommend maximum use of existing and temporary facilities.
"We're looking at the future of the Olympic movement," Anita DeFrantz, a USOC board member and former Olympic rower, said Friday. "We're looking at cities that could win."
The bid has already attracted opposition from a group called No Boston Olympics, which complains that the process was conducted in secret and hosting the games will divert resources from more important civic needs like education and infrastructure.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh pledged to keep his priorities straight and said Olympic planning would not take over his term. He announced at the news conference the first nine community meetings to discuss plans with residents.
"I promise that this will be the most open and transparent and inclusive process in Olympic history," he said. "I promise that I will not leave Boston with a huge price tag."
Gov. Charlie Baker, returning to the convention center hours after his inaugural ball there, also insisted that the public will have its say.
"This is the start of the race. This is where it begins," he said. "There will be significant opportunity for all of us to engage in a very robust debate."
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