It’s Games over for Boston’s Olympic bid.
After the city’s two years of debate and controversy, Olympic organizers are ditching the effort to bring the Games to the Bay State, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh confirmed Monday.
The decision came after conversations via conference call that included the US Olympic Committee, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston2024, the group that had been charged with promoting and planning the event in the city, according to Boston Magazine.
The decision to end the bid was mutual, the USOC and Boston 2024 said in a joint statement.
It was the lack of support from the public in Massachusetts for the games that brought about the bid’s demise, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said.
“One of the guiding principles that we adopted was that we would only submit a bid that we believed could win,” Blackmun said. “Notwithstanding the promise of the original vision for the bid, and the soundness of the plan developed under Steve Pagliuca, we have not been able to get a majority of the citizens of Boston to support hosting” the games.
Blackmun stood by the big promises that came with the games, among them inspiring a push for transportation improvements and new affordable housing.
“We know that the Boston games would have been good for Boston,” he said.
Continuing now would have been too steep a challenge for organizers, said Boston 2024 Chairman Steve Pagliuca in the statement.
“The extensive efforts required in Boston at this stage of the bid process would detract from the U.S.’s ability to compete” with other cities worldwide that are in the running to host the event.
Olympic organizers wanted commitments sooner than officials were willing to give them, Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters in a press conference Monday.
Still pending is a much-anticipated report from consultants The Brattle Group on the cost and impact of the Olympic bid, which was expected in late July or early August.
“That timeframe, for whatever reason, didn’t work for others,” Baker said. “We pretty much announced it in March and stuck to it all the way through.”
No Boston Olympics, which has been organizing a grassroots campaign in opposition to the bid, said in a statement Boston is “better off” without bringing the Olympics here.
“Boston is a world-class city. We are a city with an important past and bright future. We got that way by thinking big, but also thinking smart. We need to move forward as a city, and today’s decision allows us to do that on our own terms, not the terms of the USOC or the IOC. We’re better off for having passed on Boston 2024.”
No Boston 2024, which also opposes the bid, also weighed in, writing:
“We were very pleased ot hear the news that the USOC has finally decided to pull Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. This victory for th epeopel fo 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. 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.”
“I strongly believe that bringing the Olympic Games back to the United States would be good for our country and would have brought long-term benefits to Boston,” Walsh said in an emailed statement Monday afternoon. “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. 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.”
The decision came after said earlier Monday he would not sign a contract with the USOC that would put taxpayers in the state on the hook for cost overruns.
“I cannot commit to putting taxpayers at risk,” Walsh said at an unscheduled morning press conference. “If committing to signing a guarantee today is what’s required to move forward, then Boston is no longer pursuing the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic games.”
The clock had been ticking for the USOC with an meeting on the horizon in Kuala Lumpur later this week to discuss the 2022 Winter Games.
Pressure had also been on Gov. Charlie Baker beginning late last week to speak his mind on the Games.
Key players behind the bid were set to hold a press conference Monday afternoon. Stay with Metro as this story develops.