Boston will drop 2024 Olympics bid if voters reject idea

AFP| Updated: Mar 24, 2015, 23:18 PM IST

The chairman of Boston`s bid group for the 2024 Summer Olympics said Tuesday that it will only pursue hosting the Games if a majority of city and state residents support the effort.

John Fish said the Boston 2024 group seeks a statewide referendum on the ballot in November of 2016 to decide if it will undertake the challenge of bringing the Summer Olympics to America for the first time since 1996 in Atlanta.

Fish pledged that Boston 2024 would not go forward with its bid if the measure does not pass a statewide vote or if a majority of Boston citizens do not support it.

"Boston 2024 believes that the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be good for Boston, and will create thousands of jobs, drive economic development, and serve as a catalyst for the long-term plans of Boston," Fish said.

"As we pursue this goal, we are committed to the highest level of transparency and accountability. For those reasons, Boston 2024 is announcing today that we will gather signatures to put Boston`s Olympic and Paralympic bid to a statewide vote in November of 2016."

Fish emphasized that his group will continue to work with city officials and Massachusetts state authorities in planning and making progress on a bid the people can back.

"Then the people of Massachusetts can make the final decision on whether we have achieved those goals," Fish said.

Voter approval will be essential to winning support from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) when facing challenges from global rivals for the rights to host the 2024 Olympics, Fish said.

"The bid will be stronger with a majority of citizens of Massachusetts and Boston in support," Boston 2024 chief executive Rich Davey said. "We`re very confident that the Games will improve our city and our state with great jobs and great economic opportunity. It will showcase the best of Boston on a world stage.

"We look forward to making our case."

The US Olympic Committee named Boston as its candidate city for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics in January. Its first submission to the IOC will be in December 2016. The IOC will select a host for the 2024 Olympics in 2017.

"It is our intent to bring the Games back to the United States and host an event that will propel the Olympic and Paralympic movements forward for a new generation," Fish said.

US voters have said no to an Olympics before. Denver had been awarded the 1976 Winter Olympics but a hike in costs and environmental concerns helped push Colorado voters to reject a bond issue to fund the event in 1972 and the IOC eventually awarded the 1976 Winter Games to Innsbruck, Austria.