Region's bid for Olympics fails, with Boston selected as U.S. candidate
By KEVIN RECTOR AND JEFF BARKER
The Baltimore Sun|
Jan 08, 2015 | 8:59 PM
The U.S. Olympic Committee on Thursday selected Boston as its candidate to compete for the 2024 Summer Olympics, quashing this region's hope of hosting the international sports spectacle.
The decision ended bids by finalists Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington. Maryland has been a secondary partner in Washington's bid, and likely would have hosted multiple events and made a significant financial contribution to the games.
The International Olympic Committee is expected to choose its 2024 host city from an international pool of candidates in September 2017.
"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," U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Larry Probst said in a statement.
Boston joins Rome as the only cities that have officially decided to seek the games. Germany plans to submit a proposal for either Hamburg or Berlin, and France, Hungary and South Africa also are considering bids.
The United States has not hosted the Summer Olympics since the 1996 games in Atlanta.
Washington 2024 Chairman and CEO Russ Ramsey said Thursday he was honored to have been able to "envision how the Olympic Games would advance the goals of this community and foster greater unity" with others involved in the process.
"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," he said in a statement. "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."
Terry Hasseltine, director of Maryland Sports, a state office that works to attract events, said bid organizers would now "turn our efforts to looking for other opportunities for the region." He said the relationships made during the 2024 bidding process would serve that effort well.
"It opens doors, it brings an awareness to our region and it allows us the opportunity to take away positives," he said.
The Washington 2024 committee was composed mostly of D.C.-area business and sports officials, but also included Kevin Plank, CEO of Baltimore-based Under Armour.
A spokeswoman said Plank was in meetings and unavailable to comment on the announcement Thursday.
Other members included former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Washington Nationals owner Mark D. Lerner.
Committee Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals and Wizards, said he was "proud of the effort" the committee put forth and has no doubt that "sports will continue to drive economic growth and opportunities" in the region.
"Through this endeavor, we saw once again that Washington is home to proud sports fans of all ages and from all walks of life," Leonsis said.
The competition to become the U.S. candidate for the 2024 games began two years ago. Each city submitted detailed proposals to the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The Washington proposal would have relied on neighboring Maryland and Virginia to host portions of the games. Skeptics questioned the region's ability to handle the games, given existing congestion and infrastructure needs.
But Washington offered some of the world's best-known monuments and landmarks as potential backdrops to the competitions, and the plan had many backers.
Caron Brace, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said the mayor's office was "very supportive of D.C.'s bid, because of course we knew that it could have significant economic impact on Baltimore City."
In an unsuccessful Washington proposal for the 2012 games, Baltimore would have been the site of soccer, gymnastics, cycling, field hockey and triathlon events. Annapolis would have hosted the sailing events, and Patapsco Valley State Park would have seen mountain biking.
New York was the U.S. candidate for 2012 but lost to London. Chicago, the U.S. candidate to host the 2016 games, lost out to Rio de Janeiro.
By 2024, more than two decades will have passed since the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the last games to be held on U.S. soil.
Boston focused in its proposal on a frugal spending plan and its ability to tap 100 universities in the surrounding area to host events and house athletes. It touted a walkable, technology-based Olympics.
"Today's selection by the USOC is the beginning of an incredible opportunity for Boston," Boston 2024 Chairman John Fish said.