New Bedford will host the Olympic and Paralympic sailing on Buzzards Bay should the 2024 Summer Games head to Boston.
Boston 2024 CEO Rich Davey and Mayor Jon Mitchell announced the partnership Thursday afternoon at a press conference held at Fort Taber. Organizers believe that this expanded venue proposition will strengthen Boston’s chances of hosting the Summer Games.
“As sailors know, there’s no better place to sail than these waters here,” Mitchell said. “We have a great city centered in Buzzards Bay, which we believe makes the best sense to host the sailing events.” Davey said that Buzzards Bay was an ideal location to host the events instead of Boston Harbor as Boston 2024 opened their 2.0 plan, making Fort Taber the first venue announcement.
Davey said that sailors would start to arrive in 2017 after the International Olympic Committee designates Boston to host the Games. “The sailors who will be here nine years from now know that there is no better place, not just in Massachusetts, but in all of America to have the sailing events,” Davey said. “By having the competition here, it gives New Bedford an opportunity to expand on their legacy and to showcase their beauty to the world.”
New Bedford is the largest fishing port in the United States. They were one of the wealthiest cities in the 19th century during the whaling era and where crucial in the Bay State’s industrial production in the 20th century. Mitchell said that hosting thousands of people would have direct economic benefits on the city and would expand the city’s reputation of beauty through word of mouth.
“The same winds that helped launch the port’s success in the whaling era prevail today and we believe those winds can make this bay one of the finest sites for sailing in Olympic history,” Mitchell said. “We are excited to partner with our capitol city in bringing the Games to Boston. The idea of New Bedford hosting these competitions fits right in with who we are as a city. This is the ultimate city by the sea.”
Organizers said that hosting the 10 events over the course of 13 days would be a perfect catalyst for the revitalizing process for Fort Taber, which would serve as the viewing area and the location of the medal ceremonies. “Ordinarily, you’d have to bring a pair of binoculars to a sailing event, but the proximity here makes for the perfect vantage point for spectators,” Mitchell said. “Right here it’s almost as if you have a first base line seat.”
“US Sailing is excited about the selection of New Bedford and Buzzards Bay as the sailing venue for the Boston 2024 Olympic bid. These waters provide some of the finest sailing conditions in the world and will deliver fantastic competition,” Executive Director of US Sailing Jack Gierhart said.
“The New Bedford venue also offers an incredible opportunity for fan-athlete interaction and spectating that will set a new standard for Olympic sailing,” Gierhart said “The Olympics in New Bedford will be incredible, and equally important, the legacy left behind with improved facilities, increased public awareness and access will be a huge benefit for sailing in the U.S.”
Mayor Mitchell and Davey have establisheda partnership with UMass Dartmouth tohousethe athletes.
Bostonians weigh in
Ally Wallace, 25, Brookline
“I still don’t think that Boston’s infrastructure could handle the Olympics no matter where it would be, I am not a huge supporter of it. And knowing the Mass Pike and all the freeways and highways around here it would not be a pleasant experience.”
An angry, anonymous Bostonian
“The Olympics is a total scam, by scam artists and it is outrageous that they have approached the public asking for money.”
Brendan Clune, 21, Fenway
“I don’t really know, I don’t really have an opinion on the Olympics.”
Alana Schwartz, 20, Allston
“I think it will draw traffic away from the city, but I don’t think it will be enough.”
Additional reporting by Christina Beiene.