The board of directors of the US Olympic Committee was due to hold a meeting in Boston today, with a possible US bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games certain to feature on the agenda - albeit the location of the meeting is not thought to be significant, even though Boston is among USOC’s shortlisted cities for a possible bid.
John Fish, chief executive of Suffolk Construction, who has led the campaign to bring the games to Boston, told the Boston Herald: “I think it would be good for Boston to have the opportunity to explore the possibility. It’s not so much about hosting the Olympics. It’s about where Boston wants to be in the future.”
It is thought that the USOC could narrow its shortlist from six (Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington) to as few as two or three cities. Other cities, including New York and Philadelphia, have ruled themselves out of the running in recent weeks.
Last month, a year after claiming that the Philadelphia region “enthusiastically embraced the prospect of bidding on and hosting a future Olympic Games,” city mayor Michael Nutter said the time was not right, citing financial and logistical concerns.
Earlier the same week, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio withdrew the city's interest in the 2024 games, having “weighed up the pros and cons.”
The USOC plans to pick a single bid city by the end of this year, if it decides that it should proceed with a bid, which is looking increasingly likely.
Meanwhile, Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee’s president, yesterday continued with the IOC’s familiar policy of attempting to encourage the maximum possible number of credible bidders by saying that Rome would be a “very strong contender” to host the 2024 games.
Speaking at a conference in the city celebrating the centenary of CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee, Bach said: “It's not a secret, a Rome bid for the 2024 games would be very strong. Italy is a country with a great passion for sport and great athletes and is efficient in hospitality and organization.
“It would be a very strong bid which would have the sympathy of a lot of people, not only in the Olympic family but inside the whole movement.”
A proposed Rome bid to host the 2020 games was abandoned in the face of the economic crisis sweeping southern Europe at the time.
Speaking of possible changes to future bid processes resulting from the IOC’s Agenda 2020 initiative, which plans to implement reforms by the end of this year, Bach added: “We need to change philosophy. In the past we needed to build many stadiums with huge capacity and with so many technical procedures to respect.
“At the time maybe it was right but it doesn't respond to today's demands. We have to think about how the games could enter into the social fabric of the host country. We have to be more flexible, starting with the programme, and understand how to best manage costs.Competition for the 2024 Olympics is also likely to come from France, with a Paris bid in the process of being discussed, as well as: Berlin or Hamburg in Germany; Dubai in the United Arab Emirates; Doha in Qatar; Toronto in Canada; Melbourne in Australia; and Baku in Azerbaijan.
The International Olympic Committee is due to select the host city in a vote in 2017.