USOC Drops Boston 2024
July 27, 2015 2:18 PM   Subscribe

Earlier today, the US Olympic committee dropped the Boston 2024 bid. Local website Universal Hub provided extensive coverage of the ill-fated bid, from its beginnings to today's end.

The original bid documents, some of which were only released last week, showed that Boston 2024 backers knew about a $471 million dollar gap in projected revenue but told the public that no additional funds would be required.

Highlights of the Boston 2024 committee's social media game included a tweet suggesting that locals catch the Olympic spirit with Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia and a link to a satirical article suggesting that the Olympics would lead local children to eat their veggies. Meanwhile, observers suggest that the committee was less concerned about children's vegetable intake and more concerned about taking land through eminent domain to redevelop as "Midtown Boston".

Boston 2024 previously on Metafilter.
posted by pie ninja (119 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yaaaaaaay!
posted by overeducated_alligator at 2:23 PM on July 27, 2015 [33 favorites]


The moment the existence of "VIP Lanes" between venues was revealed, I knew this dream was dead. The last thing a New Englander can stomach is someone, especially a tourist, getting somewhere faster than them.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:25 PM on July 27, 2015 [60 favorites]


With LA being a likely alternate, I am nonplussed. Having not been here for '84, it would be very cool to experience that megalopolitan energy. But the IOC is up there with FIFA for Ineffable Squick Factor.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:26 PM on July 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Props to Boston's mayor. It might even inspire other mayors when sport franchises threaten to leave if the public doesn't buy them new stadiums.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 2:27 PM on July 27, 2015 [16 favorites]


Greece has a lot of islands. If the IOC were not so corrupt, maybe it could direct its bid-city-junket-attending energy to purchasing one of the uninhabited ones, building crazy bonkers over-the-top state of the art facilities for all of the summer sports, and declare that location to be Mount Olympus in perpetuity. Do the same thing with something near King George Island or maybe in the crumbly bits of Canada or something (finding actual mountains for the alpine sports might be a trick) and you can have winter games too.

It's riduculous that we as a species still spend so much money every 2 years building/rebuilding facilities that serve no lasting purpose.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:29 PM on July 27, 2015 [56 favorites]


I really hope this doesn't mean San Francisco is in the running again.
posted by waytoomuchcoffee at 2:30 PM on July 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Once it was revealed that a developer was behind he proposal, and even the politicians didn't want it (much less any real people), it was a goner. And good riddance!
posted by wenestvedt at 2:32 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


After winning the seat on his own the first time, Tom Menino was re-elected Mayor of Boston four times. It's pretty much a cinch that Marty Walsh was just re-elected for the first time.
posted by yhbc at 2:34 PM on July 27, 2015


As a kid I thought it would be cool if the Olympics came to town. As an adult, especially having seen the crap they pulled for London, having a modern Olympics come to town might make me move.
posted by ckape at 2:35 PM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Just want to congratulate those 10 people on twitter who were against the Boston bid. Well done, there.
posted by eriko at 2:35 PM on July 27, 2015 [11 favorites]




Getting the Olympics seems to be the Big Booby Prize these days for cities.
posted by bearwife at 2:37 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Props to Boston's mayor.

Hint: You are required to agree to a binding proposal today. You do not get to *read* this binding proposal until September.

The correct answer is to punch whoever tells you this in the face repeatedly until they stop talking to you forever.

Boston's mayor instead took the 85% correct answer, which was to simply say no.
posted by eriko at 2:38 PM on July 27, 2015 [41 favorites]


It's riduculous that we as a species still spend so much money every 2 years building/rebuilding facilities that serve no lasting purpose.
I was about to say "At least it's not bombs" but I expect we actually spend even more on those.
posted by ckape at 2:38 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Everyone in Boston yesterday: "Ugh fuck the Olympics for coming here"
Everyone in Boston today: "Ugh fuck the Olympics for not coming here"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:40 PM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Greece has a lot of islands. If the IOC were not so corrupt, maybe it could direct its bid-city-junket-attending energy to purchasing one of the uninhabited ones, building crazy bonkers over-the-top state of the art facilities for all of the summer sports, and declare that location to be Mount Olympus in perpetuity.

That would be awesome.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 2:40 PM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Whew. I was not looking forward to Providence getting a good share of the hassle (being basically a bedroom community for Boston now), while getting none of the benefit.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:41 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


A lot of people in Boston who stood to make a lot of money gutting downtown Boston are sad tonight, and to that I say nelsonmuntz.wav.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:41 PM on July 27, 2015 [23 favorites]


Boston already has VIP lanes imo
(in other cities they are known as "the shoulders and the opposing lane")
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:43 PM on July 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


WBUR was reporting this afternoon that part of the reason the bid was retracted was that Mayor Walsh wouldn't agree to the mandatory(?) contract clause requiring the taxpayers to shoulder the burden of any cost overruns. Which, considering every single Olympics since the 50s has incurred cost overruns, basically guaranteed the proponents' "no public money" promise was a big fat lie.
posted by backseatpilot at 2:46 PM on July 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's riduculous that we as a species still spend so much money every 2 years building/rebuilding facilities that serve no lasting purpose.

More host cities should be like Tahoe in 1960 - they improved the ski slopes and built the ice rinks, but when it came to the bobsled track they said "mmm... nah, that sounds like a pain in the ass, we're not building that." So they didn't! There just weren't any luge or bobsled events that year. I suppose it would wreak havoc with the sustainability of the smaller sports, but it was definitely refreshing to read about someone actually pushing back on the IOC's demands.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 2:51 PM on July 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


I should take a moment, since the 2016 Olympics are coming up, to thank all that is good and right in the world that Chicago lost.

Thank you, world! Bullet dodged!
posted by eriko at 2:58 PM on July 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


(in other cities they are known as "the shoulders and the opposing lane")

What shoulders? Outside route 128 the roads are barely wide enough for one lane little alone the two that are marked with barely visible white paint stripped from years of snow plowing.
posted by Talez at 2:59 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, and fuck you Daley for even thinking about it.
posted by eriko at 2:59 PM on July 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


...lanes?
posted by backseatpilot at 3:01 PM on July 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Meanwhile, following the "success" of the Pan-Am games in Toronto, the head of the Canadian Olympic Committee (who it should be noted, does not live in Toronto) has said that Toronto should bid for the 2024 Summer Games.


For the history buffs out there, Montreal paid off its remaining debt from the 1976 Games in 2006.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:01 PM on July 27, 2015 [32 favorites]


If we actually were ramping up the Olympics here in Chicago right as the city's budget is undergoing a warp-core breach, that would have been....interesting.
posted by JoeZydeco at 3:03 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Now if only every other major city in the world would say no to the IOC, things would get interesting.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:05 PM on July 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Now if only every other major city in the world would say no to the IOC, things would get interesting.

Freetown 2024!
posted by Etrigan at 3:09 PM on July 27, 2015


the head of the Canadian Olympic Committee (who it should be noted, does not live in Toronto) has said that Toronto should bid for the 2024 Summer Games.

Could I suggest maybe, oh, punching them in the face until they stop talking?

I don't normally think violence is the answer, but man, this is the Olympics. Strong measures are required.
posted by eriko at 3:17 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, hooray. I think the *idea* of "hey, Olympics in Boston" is kind of cool. But the functional reality of "hey, Olympics in Boston and we have to FIND A PLACE FOR IT and PAY FOR IT" is just horrible.

Now can we spend some of that money and fix roads and bridges and the MBTA so we can be a "world class city" anyways?
posted by rmd1023 at 3:25 PM on July 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


Must be a buncha guys in suits standing around in a field somewhere in Boston, hands on their hips and shaking their heads. "What are we gonna spend all this money on now?"

The Olympics are like the advanced version of such a FIFA scam.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:30 PM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


So.... the plan would've had a deficit if at least $471-million, to be paid by the taxpayers, but on the bright side: the developers say the tax breaks they were demanding would've resulted in $27-million more in tax revenues spread over the next forty years --- heck, who could object to a sweet deal for the city like that!
posted by easily confused at 3:32 PM on July 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Darn, and just when I had carefully placed my space saver plastic chair in Boston Common where I expected them to put the beach volleyball court.
posted by shortfuse at 3:33 PM on July 27, 2015 [20 favorites]


From your southward sometimes rival: Mazel Tov!
posted by Jack Karaoke at 3:38 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think it would have been the competition of the century if not the millennium: The corruption of the IOC vs the deeply ingrained local corruption (review BigDig, various public servants under indictment and in prision, and all the stuff no one hears about).

But yeah, loose/loose for the general population.

It really should've been a New England proposal rather than a city, perhaps some venues in Providence and New York. Kinda was but being explicit and spreading around might have worked.
posted by sammyo at 3:42 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


•The IOC president shall be welcomed ceremoniously on the runway when he arrives.

Serious question...In the past, wasn't it actual IOC protocol to address the IOC president as "Your highness" or "His eminence" or something utterly douchey like that?
posted by Thorzdad at 3:43 PM on July 27, 2015


Well, if the lesser cities aren't up to it, Los Angeles is ready and willing to pick up the pieces ;-)

But, seriously, I don't think we'd even have to build anything extra. We'll even have an extra brand new football stadium by then.

LA made a profit in '84, and hopefully we'll have a chance to do so again.
posted by sideshow at 3:54 PM on July 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Really thrilled and relieved about this, though regretful that somewhere else in the world is still going to have to host this inherently clusterfuckish shitshow.

Boston 2024 has been totally dead in the water for months as far as the public goes, but I was not naive enough to believe that the people poised to make a killing off the rest of us wouldn't ram the bid through with or without.

And what a crazy coincidence that Mayor Marty was able to get his disavowal of this massively stupid and frivolous fiasco in just minutes before the USOC officially announced they were dropping Boston!
posted by threeants at 4:00 PM on July 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Breaking: recently unclassified documents reveal that in addition to renaming the neighborhood hosting the Olympics "Midtown", Downtown Crossing would be rebranded "Little Five Points", Eastie would get a facelift as "Buckhead", and the entirety of Roxbury and Dorchester would be renamed "the Downtown Connector". Also walking would be basically outlawed probs
posted by threeants at 4:05 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Congratulations Boston, bullet dodged.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:05 PM on July 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Now if only every other major city in the world would say no to the IOC, things would get interesting.

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of developing countries with spotty human rights records who would like to host the Olympics.
posted by Johnny Assay at 4:09 PM on July 27, 2015


> After winning the seat on his own the first time, Tom Menino was re-elected Mayor of Boston four times. It's pretty much a cinch that Marty Walsh was just re-elected for the first time.

Nope. It should never have gotten this far. I immediately decided to vote against Walsh the minute I found out about the shit they were going to pull on renters. If the bid had gone forward I was considering campaigning for a Republican. It wouldn't have had an effect but it would have dramatized how angry I was.

/BTW, I may not represent the majority of Bostonians, but I do actually get to vote (against) Walsh in his next election.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:10 PM on July 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


I used to like the idea of bringing the games to Philadelphia. Then I read about how shut down the city is going to be just for the Pope visiting. No thank you.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:12 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I firmly believe that LA is one of the very few sites in the world that can host an Olympics without going into the red in the modern era. Heck, LA would hardly have to build anything. Have a cancellation elsewhere? LA can probably swing it on a few months' notice, if it came to that.
posted by chimaera at 4:14 PM on July 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't see a US bid succeeding any time soon, not least because all the cities with grifting room are spending that public money on sportsball stadiums for big league teams.

It really should've been a New England proposal rather than a city

No can do: Olympic bids always tied to a city and not a region or country because reasons, even though those bids are always somewhat regional.
posted by holgate at 4:17 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


It really should've been a New England proposal rather than a city, perhaps some venues in Providence and New York.

New York is not in New England. Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. New York is New England's big, loud cousin to the West.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:21 PM on July 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


Bring them to LA! We'll do a good job with them.
posted by persona au gratin at 4:23 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have such nice memories of the Olympics in LA in 84. I was in my late teens, so def. not cognizant of the political/budgetary issues, but the city was really ALIVE for those two weeks or whatever. My parents weren't into it, so they didn't get us any tickets, but a friend's family had bought up whatever random tickets they could access that were cheap. We saw baseball and women's basketball games between nations not vying for any medals, and had a lot of fun waving American flags just because. The whole city was decorated with banners.

As a current Angeleno, I want to know about the budgetary issues, but if it can be accomplished without a defecit (like our last Olympics) I'm all for it.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:23 PM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


LA should already have the physical infrastructure in place--there are plenty of extant sports arenas, and some of the specialty locations from the '84 Olympics are actually still operational (like the archery field, which is a couple of miles from my parents' house). I imagine traffic would be even more unpleasant than it already is, though.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:31 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yay for Boston losing, everyone I know who lives/lived in that city was pissed about the bit. But what's happened? It used to be that right to host events like the Olympics was practically fought over, used as a propaganda tool by the nation and paid for with the common purse, rather than having a city take full fiscal responsibility for the thing. Has the overt corruption and increasingly absurdish requirements finally taken its toll?
posted by Blackanvil at 4:33 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I thought I saw somewhere that the IOC basically demands new facilities, even for cities that already have Olympic-level facilities.

Of course, any budget-conscious bid is going to get turned down, just for failing IOC minimum graft level requirements.
posted by ckape at 4:38 PM on July 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


Props to Boston's mayor.

No. Walsh gets no credit for this. None. He and his cronies were pushing this. He was for it. His #10peopleon twitter sums up his real thoughts. And now when it was clear to everyone he comes out and says he wouldn't sign anything that says taxpayers would cover overruns? When he's been saying all along that there would be no risk to taxpayers?

Walsh:
We always anticipated having the time to do our due diligence on the guarantees required and a full review of the risk and mitigation package proposed last week.


Bullshit. You tried to ram it down our throats. You refused to release documents. You had Bill Linehan try to block Tito Jackson's subpoena.
When that didn't work you conveniently said they'd be released in a week - after the "debate".

Your campaign adviser and COO left city hall to work on Boston2024.

City Hall's Olympic watchdog was being paid by Boston2024

Just no. He gets no credit for this.
posted by bowmaniac at 4:48 PM on July 27, 2015 [35 favorites]


Don't forget Marty Walsh's cousin who stood up during a community meeting to call an opponent of the Olympics a ‘f—ing piece of s–t.’
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:58 PM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Everyone/ almost nobody in Boston today: "Ugh fuck the Olympics for not coming here"

There is no Potomac Avenue in Boston.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:10 PM on July 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


Meanwhile here in Rio de Janeiro the evictions relocations still go on. The only English speaking mass media which seems to regularily report on what happens here is the Guardian and occasionally Al-Jazeera.
Repression is big business in pre Olympic Rio.
posted by adamvasco at 5:14 PM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


If Los Angeles wants the Olympics, then they should have it!


We want you to have it!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:14 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


some of the specialty locations from the '84 Olympics are actually still operational

Hell, we have facilities from the '32 Olympics still in place and ready to go.
posted by sideshow at 5:19 PM on July 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is delicious since I have been visiting my parents in Toronto this week and the local media and politicians have a full post Pan Am Games stiffy for the Olympics. Last week Sunday's Chicago Tribune had a full feature on how lucky the city was that Daley's Olympic dreams were foiled.

People seem to be waking up.
posted by srboisvert at 5:22 PM on July 27, 2015


What a relief. Not sure how I missed this earlier, but nice to read it here first.
posted by uosuaq at 5:26 PM on July 27, 2015


Blackanvil: I suspect some of that faded away when the Olympics stopped being a proxy for the Cold War.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:27 PM on July 27, 2015


Ditto everything bowmaniac said. "Props to Boston's mayor" is some revisionist bullshit.
posted by cribcage at 5:37 PM on July 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


If we're going to continue to have these spectacles (which admittedly I kind of like), it really would be best to limit them to countries that have the facilities to handle them already, or have a minimal amount of facilities to build to be up to snuff. I can understand why a nation like Brazil would want to host a World Cup, but that doesn't make it a good idea. The other option is to have all of the other participating nations chip in, but that doesn't seem likely to fly. Of course, we also need to get the IOC and FIFA to stop demanding that new facilities be built for each iteration. If these contests are important to the world, surely we can come up with a way of making bearing the burden of them more equitable.
posted by mollweide at 5:41 PM on July 27, 2015


Wow, special lanes in Boston too? That was one of the demands the IOC made to Oslo

I think there was an episode of the Australian mockumentary "The Games" (which portrays a humorous account of the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics) where a visiting member of the IOC is later revealed to have been an international con-artist because he a) wasn't demanding enough with his hospitality requests and b) actually provided the local planners with helpful advice.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:58 PM on July 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


I was in L.A. for the '84 Olys. For me, the highlights were Opening Day stunts at two totally-unaffiliated-with-anything radio stations. First my "crazy morning DJ" former mentor staged a "People's Torch Relay" through the streets of the Valley (20+ miles from any Olympic venue). Having lost a lot of weight after taking up running, I was damned proud to run a quarter-mile leg holding the "very symbolic unlit tiki torch" aloft. Then, at the end-of-the-run gathering, I 'hooked up' with a future serious girlfriend (it was a great place to meet somebody who shares your weird sense of humor). Then, as the Opening Ceremonies began later in the day, I got to join in on another station's intentionally irreverent "Alternative Coverage" as a group of DJs and minor comedy writers gathered around a TV to broadcast our reactions live on FM radio... I came up with a few good lines about various national teams entering the stadium, but the most memorable moment was at the climax of the ceremony when the last Torch Relay runner emerged - it was past Olympic Gold Medalist Rafer Johnson who one of the other smartasses immediately renamed "Reefer Johnson" as he lit the event's "Giant Blunt". So appropriate considering what was in the air of the studio at the time.

Other than that, it was rather surprising how little effect the '84 Olympics had on daily life in L.A., but I both lived and worked in the suburbs, far from anywhere anything Olympic was actually happening. Now I am 175 miles farther away so, "yay, L.A., whatever".
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:58 PM on July 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


In the past, wasn't it actual IOC protocol to address the IOC president as "Your highness" or "His eminence" or something utterly douchey like that?

I imagine Brundage would have loved to be called mein führer.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:04 PM on July 27, 2015




FUCK. This means Toronto is almost certainly getting it. They like to spread their grift around the planet, and by 2024 (after Rio and Tokyo) North America is due. Especially given the Pan-Am games that just finished, which word on the street has it was mainly backed by COC people proving to the IOC that Toronto can host a huge event. Plus! We came in second to Rio for 2016. Calling it right now: Toronto 2024. It's going to happen. And it is going to fuck up the city.

We have literally nowhere to put a stadium. Many of the other facilities could reasonably be integrated into the city's life--tear down the monstrosity at UofT and build a new aquatics centre (or stretch 'Toronto' really far and replace the National Aquatics Centre in Ottawa); rowing at the Henley Regatta; biking/triathlon/x-country through Niagara; the Ex could host gymnastics/table tennis/fencing with little effort. Except...

I thought I saw somewhere that the IOC basically demands new facilities, even for cities that already have Olympic-level facilities.

Yup.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:46 PM on July 27, 2015


The Olympics are like the advanced version of such a FIFA scam.

Sepp Blatter may be stepping down as president of FIFA, but he's still an IOC member.
posted by ignignokt at 6:48 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


All I can say is: thank god.
posted by tocts at 6:51 PM on July 27, 2015


Meanwhile, following the "success" of the Pan-Am games in Toronto, the head of the Canadian Olympic Committee (who it should be noted, does not live in Toronto) has said that Toronto should bid for the 2024 Summer Games.

How exactly were the Pan Am games a "success"? Given the disruption to the city and the really low attendance, I would call the result mediocre, at best.
posted by grouse at 7:03 PM on July 27, 2015


Is it possible to do a reverse scam? Promise the IOC to hold the Olympics, and then, just not build anything or get ready in any way? Keep promising and showing plans, spend money on the infrastructure, but keep delaying the stadiums and shit?

Then, a couple of years out, just say we can't do it. By then, it's too short-notice for any other city to meet the "requirements" either. What are they going to do, cancel it? Get the IOC to bribe us to make it happen. Then treat them like absolute shit the whole time they're here. Arrest them at the end.

It's nice to dream about anyway.
posted by ctmf at 7:04 PM on July 27, 2015 [20 favorites]


Honestly the only good thing about Pan-Am was the truly astounding number of unbelievably gorgeous tourists. Grindr didn't crash the way it did in London for the 2012 Olympics, but it was pretty amazing seeing 'pan am visitor' 'visiting for pan am' 'pan am gymnast' (he was... popular) etc etc etc.

Well that and the TTC running subways on Sundays with the normal weekly schedule. Other than that it was largely a boondoggle that we'll be paying off for a decade.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:06 PM on July 27, 2015


nooooo not in toronto not in toronto not in toronto!!!
posted by tickingclock at 7:33 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm only in Buffalo and I can feel the headache of Toronto 2024 from here.

Though it would be darkly amusing to see the inevitable MOAR LANES ON 401! projects.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:29 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


New York is not in New England.

In 1688, the former Dutch colonies of New York, East New Jersey, and West New Jersey were added to the Dominion [of New England.]


The very first paragraph of your link says,
New England comprises six states of the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by New York to the west, Long Island Sound to the south, the Atlantic Ocean and the Canadian province of New Brunswick to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:34 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Since 1984 was the first Olympics I was kind of aware of, it's always seemed weird to me that cities went and built all new things for when they host the games, even though that's actually the norm and LA somehow was able to just use all the stuff they already had and hardly had to do anything.
posted by LionIndex at 9:06 PM on July 27, 2015


"Props to Boston's mayor" is some revisionist bullshit.

I have no agenda here. I'm not from Boston or Massachusetts. If he admitted being wrong and changed his mind to keep from impoverishing his city, that seems like a positive thing and something for other cities and leadership to emulate.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:09 PM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thorzdad: Serious question...In the past, wasn't it actual IOC protocol to address the IOC president as "Your highness" or "His eminence" or something utterly douchey like that?

Some quick searching has found this obituary for former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch. Here is the relevant paragraph:

"The political lessons that Samaranch had learned in Spain served him well when dealing with an IOC riven by squabbles and national rivalries. Throughout his time in office Samaranch, who was created a marquess by the King of Spain in 1991, was able to ensure that the IOC was stuffed with members who waved through his decisions. Indeed, his style was so autocratic that he insisted on being referred to by his ambassadorial title of 'Your Excellency,' which many saw as indicative. In addition he lived well, always staying at the best suites in the best hotels in whichever city he visited."
posted by bryon at 11:27 PM on July 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Some of my favorite people on the Earth are those who dedicate a lot of time and energy to protesting the Olympics building projects. It's just so wasteful...
posted by yueliang at 2:04 AM on July 28, 2015


I'm glad the bid is *officially* dead, so that the tiny lingering sense of doubt I had in the back of my mind is soothed, but... I don't think anyone seriously thought that this was ever going to Become A Thing. The proposal (as it was released in short, reluctant bits) is fractally terrible: you can look at any small part of it closely, and it turns out to be just as awful as the greater whole. It is so absurdly ridiculous that part of me is suspicious it was performance art, though I don't picture John Fish as the modern-art type.

For example: the equestrian events. The proposal called for the repurposing of Franklin Park, specifically White Stadium, to house parts of the pentathalon and the equestrian events. To do this, they proposed renovating White Stadium, an existing structure in the middle of the park, so that it could hold 20,000 spectators (PDF warning; scroll down to page 19). On paper, that sounds great! In practice, there are some issues. For example, this is White Stadium. Boston Public Schools plays their football games there. It is a lovely venue for such events. However, the stated capacity of 10,000 people is off by a factor of between 3 and 10. In six years living next to it, I have never seen more than 200 people in it at one time. The last renovations it saw were during the Reagan years, so I suspect that more than 500 people at a time would cause major structural stress. Meanwhile, it's located 1.2 miles from the nearest public transit facility, and the walk from that subway station to the stadium (which goes right past my house, by the way--stop and wave!) contains a quarter mile of 12% grade hill. I, a reasonably healthy 30-something male, am out of breath by the time I walk halfway up that hill carrying grocery bags or pushing a stroller. The Olympics happen in July, when the median high temperature is in the upper 80's. Combine that with the demographics of people going to watch equestrian events, and you literally get a transportation plan that will kill one or more people from heat exhaustion.

But let's look even closer! The renovations to the stadium aren't counted toward the budget of the Olympic bid, because the work has already been budgeted by the state, and the contract has been awarded. To whom was the bid awarded? Why, Suffolk Construction, the company wholly owned and operated by the president and CEO of Boston2024, John Fish. I'm sure it will come as an enormous surprise to you that the renovations were put on hold in 2013, right around the time that rumors began swirling that an Olympic bid might be in the pipeline. No work has yet been done on the stadium.

I mean... there's no way this could have possibly been serious, right? I'm sure John Fish is just in really deep, Andy Kaufman style.
posted by Mayor West at 5:29 AM on July 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


But if Toronto gets the Olympics, just imagine how many new transit plans can get screwed up!
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:34 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Olympics won't happen in the US until Congress establishes a reasonable site selection and funding method. No one thinks individual cities can or should bear the entire burden.
posted by miyabo at 5:45 AM on July 28, 2015


IMHO It all came down to the Velodrome. Seriously who races bicycles like that anymore? The real Olympic bicycling venue should have been the streets of Boston where "bike lanes" are mythical beasts, stop signs mean nothing - to anyone, and using turn signals are a sign of weakness. Tour de France is for wimps, try the tour de Boston for a road rage filled challenge.
posted by Gungho at 5:52 AM on July 28, 2015


keep delaying the stadiums and shit?

Then, a couple of years out, just say we can't do it. ...What are they going to do, cancel it?
posted by ctmf at 10:04 PM on July 27 [10 favorites +] [!]


This was a real fear in Boston, that the unions would hold the Olympics hostage by delays and cost overruns building the venues and housing. Nothing public gets built, repaired, or moved in Massachusetts unless it is 100% union. The other fear is the seemingly unlimited ability of any public works project to disrupt the city for years. For example the T has closed down Government Center station, in the heart of the city, where two subway lines converge, where 4 of the 5 trolly lines stop, for two years in order to rebuild the head house and make the platforms ADA compliant.
posted by Gungho at 6:03 AM on July 28, 2015


Mayor West, you're edging closer to my hypothesis: that the bid was meant to be a dry run. As I imagine it, John Fish and his buddies got together and started to imagine what it might look like to bid for the Olympics. They asked the USOC office what their prospects might be, and then, holy cow, the USOC put them on the short list. WTF, they said, followed by, "well let's keep going, you know, as an exercise." Still keeping to themselves, they put together a bid, presented it, and were as shocked as anyone else when they were chosen. And they panicked: "What the hell do we do now?" But then they considered the opportunities for profit and decided to keep going.

I have no inside knowledge to support this, but I think it could go a long way toward explaining why they were so utterly unprepared when Boston was chosen and why they managed to completely screw up every single aspect of dealing with the public.
posted by underthehat at 6:07 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was happy that my little city declined to even consider putting in a bid after being asked but now we're making a bid for the Superbowl which wouldn't be quite as bad as the Olympics but would still be a week of hell for those of us who actually live here.
posted by octothorpe at 6:18 AM on July 28, 2015


To be honest, I've wondered if it wouldn't be better the IOC split the Summer Olympics into two major events on different cities across the same Olympiad, and each pick the sports they want to host alternatively, according to the potential for future infrastructure use and for revenue.

Something like the lead bid getting Athletics, Gymnastics, Boxing, etc and then, 1 to 3 years later, a second city picks up Aquatics, Volleyball, Football, and so on. Sure, it would be less of an event, but at this rate, "less of an event" is better than "no event".
posted by lmfsilva at 6:21 AM on July 28, 2015


The Olympic ideal went out the window for me at an early age when in 1972, the IOC stole/gave the men's basketball title to the Soviet Union on the third try after the US college kids (Doug Collins!) had won it. Again. In 1976, my father announced we were going to the Olympics in Montreal. It was a great road trip. Saw the Butch Lee basketball game. Went to the Opening Ceremonies. When I asked my dad how he got tickets, he answered, "THe mob". Huh? He explained that the head of the garment workers union at his company was connected and as a favor got him the tickets.

Add to that the 1980 US boycott, then the boycott of the LA 1984 games and I finally caught on what a load of shit the Olympics are. The whack a mole game with drug testing is just icing on the cake of what a load of crap the Olympics are.

I am not sure how the Boston mayor came to this decision, not sure how much his thoughts evolved over time, but ultimately, he did he right thing and for that, the good folks of Boston should be proud and happy.

Can't wait for the Olympics to fully collapse under their own weight.
posted by AugustWest at 6:25 AM on July 28, 2015


Looking over this thread, I realize something.

MAN the Olympics makes me a punchy guy.
posted by eriko at 6:30 AM on July 28, 2015 [2 favorites]



I have no agenda here. I'm not from Boston or Massachusetts. If he admitted being wrong and changed his mind to keep from impoverishing his city, that seems like a positive thing and something for other cities and leadership to emulate.


But again, that's not what happened. He was pushing it as recently as the day before. When it finally became abundantly clear that it was dead in the water and the USOC was going to pull the bid he jumped up on stage and yelled "Me too!" moments before they could. It was a cynical CYA move and it's unbelievable that people seem to be falling for it.
posted by bowmaniac at 6:49 AM on July 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe Boston is safe for a while now, just like Denver still appears to be, after Lamm and this debacle.

I think Lamm deserved a lot more credit for Denver's refusal than Boston's mayor does today, though.
posted by nat at 6:56 AM on July 28, 2015


(nat, I think your link is busted.)
posted by ignignokt at 7:04 AM on July 28, 2015


Yeah, Marty Walsh jumped on the no olympics side immediately after it became clear that the USOC would almost certainly yank the bid. He deserves no credit.

I do think that the bid was 100% a land grab -- they didn't expect the IOC to select them. They just needed the City of Boston to take their bid seriously enough to take over the land at Widett Circle via eminent domain. They want to make another Fenway-neighborhood-sized redevelopment opportunity, but easy land has already been grabbed.
posted by pie ninja at 7:12 AM on July 28, 2015


I do think that the bid was 100% a land grab

Bingo

The proposal does not cover any cost risks associated with overruns in building an Olympic stadium at Widett Circle or an athletes' village on Columbia Point, but Boston 2024 says taxpayers will be protected through "transfer of risk to private sector in capital project development," that is, private developers will be handed large chunks of land - and associated risks - at the two locations to build Olympic facilities in exchange for being allowed to build mega-developments on the land before and after the games.
posted by bowmaniac at 7:33 AM on July 28, 2015


If he admitted being wrong and changed his mind to keep from impoverishing his city, that seems like a positive thing and something for other cities and leadership to emulate.

If he had done that for that reason, it would be a thing to emulate. He never admitted being wrong; he said he would not comply with an ultimatum to sign a binding agreement (the terms of which would not be revealed until much later). His reason was fairly transparently to keep from impoverishing his political capital.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:42 AM on July 28, 2015


The Olympics should a couple of new sports, Jumping The Shark and Setting Piles of Cash On Fire.
posted by tommasz at 7:51 AM on July 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


#AnywhereElse2024 has triumped!

THIS IS BOSTON, NOT LA!
posted by maryr at 8:22 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


But if Toronto gets the Olympics, just imagine how many new transit plans can get screwed up!

401 will be eight klicks wide and have mega express, super express, express, express collector, collector, collector-collector, and actually-get-on-and-off carriageways. The DVP and Gardiner will be four decks high.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:05 AM on July 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


And there will be one new subway line that connects to the new stadium in the middle of nowhere.

The only--only!--thing I could see as a benefit for Toronto out of getting the Olympics is getting the Downtown Relief Line built.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:31 AM on July 28, 2015


> I am not sure how the Boston mayor came to this decision, not sure how much his thoughts evolved over time, but ultimately, he did he right thing and for that, the good folks of Boston should be proud and happy.

Yes. Proud of ourselves for stopping Walsh (and Suffolk) and their bid, and happy that we stopped him before too much damage was done or money wasted.

Mayors aren't puppies — you don't feel proud when your current one doesn't pooh on your carpet, you get a new one.

> I don't think anyone seriously thought that this was ever going to Become A Thing.

I never know anymore. I never seriously thought we would go into Iraq, and certainly not as unprepared as we were. And yet.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:47 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I'm reading things right, there are 28 official Summer Olympic sports, with something like ten thousand athletes participating in 306 separate events --- that's not counting however many additional sports and events comprise the winter Olympics: 28 sports hold 306 events for just the summer games.

In addition to all the calls for a single, permanent Olympic venue, how about cutting down on some of the events? After all, the original games had what? Greco-Roman wrestling, running, jumping, javelin and discus throwing and a couple others.
posted by easily confused at 9:49 AM on July 28, 2015


The IOC rarely removes events. More events = more viewers = more licencing money flowing into their coffers.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:05 AM on July 28, 2015


I mean FFS they added ballroom dancing as a demonstration sport.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:05 AM on July 28, 2015


I love having so many events and enjoy learning about and following some odd sport each Olympics. Modern Pentathlon, for example, was pretty cool. I particularly enjoyed with final running and shooting stage of competition.
posted by Area Man at 10:10 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


More events = more viewers = more licencing money flowing into their coffers.

Except for events with women, those uteruses falling out are gross.
posted by jeather at 10:19 AM on July 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


In addition to all the calls for a single, permanent Olympic venue

I don't think it should be just one venue - seems to me that would be economically difficult for one city/country to deal with over and over. I say something like one per continent, on a set rotation, so it's always the same five or six locations.
posted by dnash at 10:29 AM on July 28, 2015


I love having so many events and enjoy learning about and following some odd sport each Olympics.

Frankly, all Winter Olympics before 1998 should be called "Winter Olympics Without Curling So Why The Fuck Bother I Mean Honestly".

Okay, Lake Placid and Calgary and Albertville get to be called "Winter Olympics With Curling As A Demonstration Sport Which Kinda Counts", but that's as far as I'm willing to go.
posted by Etrigan at 10:33 AM on July 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't think it should be just one venue - seems to me that would be economically difficult for one city/country to deal with over and over. I say something like one per continent, on a set rotation, so it's always the same five or six locations.

I've floated this idea before: have a single venue for the summer and one for the winter. Each Olympiad a different country 'hosts' the Olympics by looking after the opening/closing ceremonies, cultural stuff around the Games, look and feel, that sort of thing. So next year for example we'd have Brazil hosting on Olympic Island, four years later it's Tokyo, etc. The host country covers the management costs for four years (which would still work out cheaper than rebuilding everything all the time), then at the closing ceremonies hands over duties to whoever's next.

As a bonus, you then have Olympic-level training facilities available permanently, possibility of hosting world championships, etc. Likely it would have to end up being its own country so that revenues get allocated fairly.

Hmm. What's Luxembourg up to these days? A small country like that could be an excellent permanent host.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:41 AM on July 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


But the silly obscure sports are the only ones worth watching. And I can't watch them because NBC is terrible.
posted by ckape at 10:47 AM on July 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


And there will be one new subway line that connects to the new stadium in the middle of nowhere. ... The only--only!--thing I could see as a benefit for Toronto out of getting the Olympics is getting the Downtown Relief Line built.

No, the stadium will be built in Oshawa, and it will be connected directly to the Olympic Village in exciting downtown Vaughan via a zillion dollar maglev system with no stops.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:54 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


oh god you say that like it's a joke

Best idea I've heard for the Village is to build it at Ontario Place.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:11 AM on July 28, 2015


FFFM, I've heard the idea of having one set location but never mixed with the idea of having a designated host for the cultural elements. That is an awesome idea and a great way to make it more reasonable to have diverse countries represented even if they aren't rich or corrupt enough to do it under the current system.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:12 AM on July 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


If I'm reading things right, there are 28 official Summer Olympic sports, with something like ten thousand athletes participating in 306 separate events --- that's not counting however many additional sports and events comprise the winter Olympics: 28 sports hold 306 events for just the summer games.

It's not so much as reducing the number of sports, as it is to cut down sports using expensive single-use venues. Baseball and Softball, for instance, were removed after the IOC noticed a) outside the US, Caribbean and Japan/Korea it's a non-sport pretty much everywhere, and b) the venues are hard to transform into anything else.
There's usually some oppositions toward velodromes, Beach Volley parks (I think they're now being re-used) and whitewater courses for kayaking. Most other sports can be squeezed inside an arena, take place in public gardens (like archery) with modest and non-permanent works, or be easily adapted into other sports (like Field Hockey).

Bringing down the number of events, particularly those using multi-event venues would do more harm than good. The idea is to strike a balance and get a full schedule from day to night as often as possible. Each slot a venue is not open, money is being lost.
posted by lmfsilva at 11:14 AM on July 28, 2015


Beach Volley parks (I think they're now being re-used)

London 2012 they built a temporary structure in Horse Guards and tore it down as soon as the Games were over--48h I think it took.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:16 AM on July 28, 2015


The Boston 2024 bid was fucked from the start, and a textbook example of how you don’t sell a city on a bid.

I’m nonetheless a bit disappointed that the Olympics (and, relatedly, the World Cup) have gotten to the point where they’re a major public works project for any city/nation that wants to host them. Democracies ought to be skeptical about shelling out the money, which means that unless something changes the games will increasingly go to oligarchies and function as ludicrous displays of wealth.

If democracies are to remain in the running, then the games have to become something that can reasonably be run without losing money. Some cities have used them as an opportunity to renew neglected areas, as with London in 2012, but that shouldn’t be a prerequisite, and the cost of that revitalization should not be included in the cost of the games. For instance, most of the Sochi games’ $51 billion price tag actually went to infrastructural investment in and around Sochi, rather than the facilities themselves. That’s fine, but if Oslo wants to host the winter games it certainly doesn’t need to build new railroads or power stations to do so, and Russia’s total outlay for the 2014 games has no bearing on how much Norway would spend on its hypothetical Olympics.

We could do what some MeFites have suggested and pick a permanent location for the games, but to me half the fun of the Olympics is seeing the opening/closing ceremonies and observing how each host nation puts its own spin on things.
posted by savetheclocktower at 11:38 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yup, that's why I like FFFM's idea so much. Best of both worlds.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:41 AM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Aww, thanks. I mean, the IOC will never go for it because it'll reduce the cash nozzle to a mere dribble.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:35 PM on July 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Democracies ought to be skeptical about shelling out the money, which means that unless something changes the games will increasingly go to oligarchies and function as ludicrous displays of wealth.

Sadly, I think the only thing that stands a reasonable chance of breaking that trend is the desire of the members of the IOC to spend their time touring potential sites in places that aren't Kazakhstan. They're happy to take the easy money flowing out of former Soviet republics and the rich parts of the Middle East for now, but if the prestigious sites of Europe and North America completely drop out, I think we'll see the IOC scrambling around for ways to bring them back into the fold (probably by dropping some of the more onerous requirements for building event-specific venues). To a certain extent, that's already happened in their capping the total number of events, although that had the unintended consequence of almost eliminating wrestling as an Olympic event. Really, though, that's just the sort of thing that inevitably happens when your organization is run by the most uncaringly venal people on Earth who aren't already in FIFA.
posted by Copronymus at 3:32 PM on July 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


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