London mayor: Don’t underestimate ‘galvanizing’ effect of Olympics – Metro US

London mayor: Don’t underestimate ‘galvanizing’ effect of Olympics

London mayor: Don’t underestimate ‘galvanizing’ effect of Olympics
Andrew Winning

London Mayor Boris Johnson was in town Monday praising his city’s experience with the 2012 Olympics as Boston continues to debate its own bid for the 2024 summer games.

Speaking on WGBH radio shortly after noon on Monday, Johnson, who was here to foster international business interest and investment in his city, said the games rejuvenated neighborhoods in East London, boosted tourism and left the city with improved infrastructure that future generations will enjoy.

“I don’t think you can underestimate the social benefits too, in the sense of bringing society together and galvanizing people, making them feel good about themselves, their city and their country,” said Johnson.

Boston’s Olympic bid has drawn detractors who question whether the taxpayers will have to pay for cost overruns and whether there will be any significant economic benefit to the region.

Johnson did acknowledge that the cost of London’s initial bid did have to be increased.

“But after we got to what was a reasonable price — five or six years out — we didn’t go over that budget,” he said.

Johnson said there was a lot of skepticism about London hosting the Olympics but such skepticism turned into “incredible euphoria” during the games. He thought Boston would experience a similar shift in public opinion.

Johnson declined to endorse Boston’s Olympic bid.

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