United States Olympic Committee (USOC) officials have firmly endorsed Boston’s under fire 2024 Olympic and Paralympic bid today, hailing “remarkable progress” made over the last five weeks and predicting public support will rise over coming months.
The backing following a USOC Quarterly Board Meeting in Redwood City, California, during which Boston 2024 officials provided updates on the campaign, comes after much criticism locally since the city was selected over Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. as the US contender in January.
With polls suggesting public support in Bostonas low as 40 per cent, it had even been predicted that the USOC could drop the bid and instead choose one of other cities to avoid the humiliation of a referendum defeat next year.
But USOC chair Larry Probst is confident this support will rise, and believes the revamped “Bid 2.0” proposals rolled out yesterday will help build public trust and enthusiasm.
No conversations have taking place with any of these other cities about switching back to them, it was claimed.
Probst predicted polls should indicate support of more than 50 per cent “relatively soon”, and that it will be in the “mid-60s” by the time the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is due to vote on a 2024 host in 2017.
It is a two-year process, he claimed, insisting that 2012 host London faced similar problems regarding public enthusiasm in the early stages of its bid.
Probst, who spoke alongside Boston 2024 bid leader Pagliuca and USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun, revealed the USOC Board made “some recommendations” and gave advice over public support, which they will continue to “closely monitor”.
They promised they will continue to work closely alongside the bid team ahead of further meetings over coming weeks.
The officials also downplayed concerns over the fact Boston’s main stadium is proposed as temporary venue likely to be torn down after the Games.
The need to avoid empty stadiums after the Games was paramount, it was claimed, with Boston’s plans in line with the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020 reform process.
The endorsement, though, is unlikely to go far towards quietening the local opposition movement orchestrated by No Boston Olympics.
The city remains set to go up against Rome, Hamburg and Paris in the race, with a bid from the Hungarian capital of Budapest set to be officially confirmed in the next few weeks.
Azerbaijan’s capital Baku is also widely expected to bid following the success of the European Games, which closed on Sunday (June 28).
The IOC is due to elect the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games host city at its session in the Peruvian capital Lima in 2017.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Inside the Games.