Is Boston 2024 a Legitimate Possibility?

While the year 2024 isn’t exactly in the near future, the bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympics is. Already, The United States Olympic Committee has narrowed its potential candidates down to four cities—Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

Though there has been much speculation, only a handful of people really have a clue as to which city may emerge as a frontrunner. And even if said city receives a tap on the shoulder from the USOC, the USOC still needs to bid properly and gain approval from the International Olympic Committee.

Since the very first Summer Olympics in 1896, there have been four Summer Olympics hosted in US cities. In 1904, St. Louis hosted; in 1932, Los Angeles hosted; in 1984, Los Angeles hosted again; and in 1996, Atlanta hosted. If the United States hosts the Summer Olympics in 2024, there will have been six Summer Olympics that have consecutively been hosted outside of the United States before the games returned to the United States.

Photo Courtesy of JL08/ flickr.

Photo Courtesy of JL08/ flickr.

There has certainly been no dearth of naysayers regarding the Boston 2024 campaign. Plenty have expressed their distaste with the idea, like, for example, nobostonolympics.org. Though the website isn’t the most intuitive to navigate, there are three points at the forefront of their argument. One—Olympics do not boost local economies. Two—Olympics are expensive, and Massachusetts taxpayers will be footing the bill. Three—Olympics have enormous opportunity costs.

While nobostonolympics.org most definitely isn’t the only group that has derided the Boston 2024 campaign, the sentiment of each of their three arguments quite closely aligns with the arguments of other detractors.

These convincing arguments are obviously grounded in reality, and have nothing but the best intentions for Boston in mind. However, these groups (perhaps rightfully so, who is to say?) have assumed that the leaders of Boston 2024 will handle the Olympics in such a way that will hinder Boston’s growth, divert its attention and harm it more than help it.

Dissenters (again, perhaps rightfully so) neglect the possibility that the Summer Olympics—if led properly—could bolster the city of Boston. True, the Olympics bear an enormous price tag and leave the city open to an abundance of economic maladies. However, if handled intelligently and ethically, the Summer Olympics has the potential to create and refine infrastructure and spark further development in the city of Boston.

Photo Courtesy of Nicolas Fleury/ flickr.

Photo Courtesy of Nicolas Fleury/ flickr.

Again, it’s important to emphasize that there are several possible outcomes of hosting the Olympics in Boston. The Summer Olympics—like with many historical instances—could leave Boston economically sapped. Or the Summer Olympics—like the case with Los Angeles, a city that has already hosted twice and has so enjoyed the outcome of the Summer Olympics that it is vying to host again in 2024—could serve as a platform to boost an already growing city.

If the USOC picks Boston and if the IOC picks the USOC—which we will all find out in 2017—we will have a lot more to consider. Until then, the reader must form his or her own opinion. Both sides offer more than convincing arguments, and it very much appears that plenty are against Boston 2024. And while many people have more than valid reasons for holding their opinions, it is very well worth looking at the flip side, because if the Boston 2024 campaign is led competently and ethically, it may just be an idea worth considering.

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