Boston Will Bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics
January 10, 2015 7:06 AM   Subscribe

The Olympic Rings over Fenway? Are you wicked stupid? On Thursday the U.S. Olympic Committee chose Boston as America’s bidding city for the 2024 Olympics, beating out San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles in the Olympic sweepstakes. As would be expected from Bostonians, reaction is less than enthusiastic.

Boston's most recent mega-project, The Big Dig, was the most expensive highway project in the U.S. and was plagued by escalating costs, scheduling overruns, leaks, design flaws, charges of poor execution and use of substandard materials, criminal arrests, and one death. It also went over budget by at least 190%.

Behind the push for Boston 2024 is local magnate John Fish, head of Suffolk Construction. While Suffolk Construction has a long history of hiring non-union workers to win bids, Fish has publicly declared that he is recusing his contruction company from any Olympic bid.

Reaction to Boston's selection has been less than enthusiastic. Time Magazine refers to Boston as "The Next Olympic Sucker," and USA Today wrote, "Boston is a Terrible Choice for the 2024 Olympics." Boston Globe's Christopher Gasper referred to the bid as 'fool's gold' and noted, "Boston is a world-class city and sports mecca that doesn’t need a parade of nations showing up on its doorstep to validate its place on the world stage. We don’t need the five-ring circus coming to town to establish an international identity."

Noted detractors No Boston Olympics write, "A Boston Olympics would divert resources from education, healthcare, transportation, and open space -- all to throw an extravagant party for the unelected, unaccountable members of the International Olympic Committee. Whatever our priorities as a Commonwealth, it is clear that $19 billion, the average cost of a summer games (and more than the cost of the Big Dig), could be better spent on other things."

Information about bids and costs have not yet made transparent or clear to those who wish to learn more.

Boston already has one world-class established sporting event. A point of Boston Pride, the Boston Marathon, will have its route modified for the Games.

The Olympic Committee will make the host city decision in 2017 and within that time, supporters hope to increase their numbers as 47 percent of respondents In a June 2014 Boston Globe poll backed the city’s bid while 43 percent opposed it.
posted by kinetic (132 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
> "A Boston Olympics would divert resources from education, healthcare, transportation, and open space -- all to throw an extravagant party for the unelected, unaccountable members of the International Olympic Committee."

That's every Olympics, but yes.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:09 AM on January 10, 2015 [33 favorites]


Yeah, screw that. The Olympics have been shown time and again to bring little to no value and nothing but headaches to residents.
posted by nevercalm at 7:11 AM on January 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


If Western cities do not stay part of the Olympic bidding process, then the Olympics will end up being held under dictators only.

The focus should not be to dump on the Olympics - because the Olympics are a great thing, and we as a society should value them and fight for their continued success.

The focus should be on reforming the IOC.

So many Americans and Westerners want to just abandon the Olympics, instead of fighting to make the games workable.
posted by Flood at 7:14 AM on January 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


I wonder whether the USOC chose a city that's less familiar to the rest of the world as a way of saying, "Whatever, we don't want your stupid Olympics anyway, might as well put it in, shit, I don't know, Boston. Fine."

Or as a way of distracting Mitt Romney for a few years.
posted by Etrigan at 7:16 AM on January 10, 2015 [15 favorites]


As a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, thanks Boston! Sucks to be you, glad it ain't me.
posted by Frayed Knot at 7:17 AM on January 10, 2015 [24 favorites]


I... would love to have the Olympics in Boston. Since every iteration of the Olympics is a shitshow from a public good perspective I'd like the chance to somewhat influence policy, if nothing else.
posted by lydhre at 7:17 AM on January 10, 2015


The best reform to make the Olympics viable long term is to pick one site, and hold the Olympics there every four years. Build stadiums once, and re-use them.

But there has to be a way to make the Olympics work.

The attitude of so many of the links in this post are tragic to me. It is an effort to kill the Olympics all together - rather than finding a way to make it work.
posted by Flood at 7:19 AM on January 10, 2015 [21 favorites]


It's funny, in my twitter feed only one friend in Boston welcomed this news (he wanted to use the facilities built for it, like a velodrome) while everyone else in my entire feed dumped on the idea and him.
posted by mathowie at 7:22 AM on January 10, 2015


As a resident of the Boston area and someone who works within about 5 mins of downtown Boston, I can definitely see the pros and cons. However, some cities do clearly benefit - I'm thinking of Barcelona - which I incidently lived not too far from in the days when they hosted it. It is beyond the scope of this little comment space to go into all of the pros and cons, but I will just cite a possible pro: according to some, the Olympics could improve the public transportation system - and as a user of it, that would be welcome. At any rate, Boston has yet to be selected in the final round, so I'm sure we'll hear a lot about this until that happens.
posted by McMillan's Other Wife at 7:24 AM on January 10, 2015


I'm not sure how they can be fixed at this point, financially-speaking. Even if there was a city that had 100% of the infrastructure already built (which would never happen), it still costs billions for security alone these days.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:26 AM on January 10, 2015


Yeah I woke up in San Francisco yesterday feeling like we dodged a bullet. After the fiasco of the America's Cup we're done with big-money sports events for awhile. Hell, we managed to even get rid of our NFL team.

Berlin would be a great place to have the Olympics. Creepy history aside, Berlin is such an up-and-coming city. And has plenty of space.
posted by Nelson at 7:26 AM on January 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


The best reform to make the Olympics viable long term is to pick one site, and hold the Olympics there every four years. Build stadiums once, and re-use them.

and it should have chariot races and naked homoerotic wrestling.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:26 AM on January 10, 2015 [40 favorites]


If Western cities do not stay part of the Olympic bidding process, then the Olympics will end up being held under dictators only.

Case in point: the two currently active bids for the 2022 Winter Olympics are Beijing, China and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Oslo withdrew due to a lack of political support.
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:28 AM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


according to some, the Olympics could improve the public transportation system

Even if this is true (according to who?), it's pretty sad that it needs an international symbol of sports excess to come to town before something like that can happen, yeah?
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:28 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


My fair city was one of the US cities that the IOC invited to bid on the 2024 Olympics but to their credit, the local government's reaction was basically "oh, fuck no".
posted by octothorpe at 7:28 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


only one friend in Boston welcomed this news (he wanted to use the facilities built for it, like a velodrome)

This is like hoping your house gets flooded because you need to clean the shower.
posted by Etrigan at 7:30 AM on January 10, 2015 [36 favorites]


All I can say is, if they actually fix the T so it runs better during the Olympics, but then allow it to go back to its usual aggravating suckiness, I will be wicked pissed.
posted by Melismata at 7:34 AM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


The main problem with the Olympic games is the mentality of disposability about them. Like, "well, done destroying your town, time to move on." They are, at this point, nothing but a scourge akin to a natural disaster.
They should be assigned 2 (and only 2) towns on each continent (one for summer and one for winter games), that have already hosted the games AND have the proper infrastructure to handle them and just rotate the games between them. Because if we allow them to continue unchecked, they WILL destroy the environment by filling the earth with unused luge tracks and curling courts.
posted by sexyrobot at 7:35 AM on January 10, 2015 [36 favorites]


Speaking as someone who lives just across the Potomac River from DC: thank god it won't be here. On the other hand, my sympathy to Boston on your "win" ---better luck next time!
posted by easily confused at 7:37 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


(Or what Flood said without the building of a whole new set of stadiums somewhere)
posted by sexyrobot at 7:39 AM on January 10, 2015


I'm under the impression that an American city will never get the Olympics as long as we insist on subjecting foreign visitors to our hostile post-9/11 border control process. I don't know if anyone in the IOC has said so publicly, but I recall reading something about that in 2009, when President Obama traveled to Europe to personally pitch Chicago's failed bid.

It makes sense. Were I a decision maker on the IOC, I would not want to award the Games to a country that will treat every visiting athlete, coach, journalist, and spectator like a criminal just for trying to get inside. I mean, were I on the IOC, I likely am a criminal, but still...

So basically Boston won the right to make a futile sales pitch to the IOC.
posted by riruro at 7:41 AM on January 10, 2015 [11 favorites]


Approximately the only good thing I can see coming out of this is that maybe the MBTA will actually finally get the cash and ability to go through their wish list of improvements they've been wanting to make for, oh, the last decade. Instead of paying off the Big Dig.

On the other hand, if we finally get the Green Line Extension and, I don't know, stop the Red Line from catching on fire because of an Olympics bid, I don't know if I'd laugh or cry.
posted by ultranos at 7:41 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


So glad they didn't pick San Francisco.
posted by ryanrs at 7:41 AM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, at least its not DC. Good luck to you, Boston.
posted by Naberius at 7:41 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


(The IOC points the Olympics at Los Angeles. A shot rings out.)

Boston: Nooooooo!

(Boston jumps in front of Los Angeles in slow motion. The Olympics catch Boston square in the chest, and Boston slumps to the ground. Los Angeles falls to its knees, cradling the fallen Boston in its arms.)

Los Angeles: Boston, you saved me!

Boston: It hurts, Los Angeles! It hurts wicked bad!

Los Angeles: Thank you, Boston! I'll never forget this!

(Tears stream from Los Angeles's eyes. Los Angeles kisses Boston on the forehead as Boston goes limp.)
posted by Parasite Unseen at 7:44 AM on January 10, 2015 [119 favorites]


Atlanta has at times been hailed as a city that saw benefits from the Olympics. It did start renewal of both downtown and midtown. Centennial Park is pretty great and has become a widely used and loved place for everything from giant music festivals to just kids playing in the fountain. The equestrian park east of the city in Conyers is still well-used and loved. Local folks who volunteered during the games still wear those highly recognizable if somewhat hideous polo shirts. They also brought olympic sports to the southeastern US, an audience who may have known less about swimming and tennis and soccer before those games. What was once Centennial Olympic Stadium became Turner Field and was also a greatly beloved landmark and symbol of downtown's revitalization (which has now been killed by rich white people who are scared to go downtown and the Braves' choice to side with them over the city that loves them). And multiple other facilities built or remodeled for the games are still in use by Georgia Tech or Georgia State Universities.

But there was of course the bombing. And the destruction of all the centralized, transit accessible public housing. And the mistreatment of the homeless. And all the other facilities that were torn down as soon as the games were over. And the trash and waste and corruption and debt and all the other things we could have done with that money in a city with a still vastly undersized public transit system and an awful lot of poor people in substandard housing.

Immediately after the games, a lot of people were still positive about them in spite of all that. Nearly 20 years later, I'm not so sure.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:48 AM on January 10, 2015 [12 favorites]


As someone who moved to LA right after 1984 the only positives I remember were a widespread youth sports Fencing program in town, and that all the street signs had been finally fixed.
posted by nickggully at 7:51 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Are they planning a new stadium, or are they going to hold everything in Foxborough? [please everything in Foxborough]

If a new stadium, where are they going to put it? Floating in the harbor?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:52 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


> It's funny, in my twitter feed only one friend in Boston welcomed this news (he wanted to use the facilities built for it, like a velodrome)

I have this same kind of Boston friend, though he's a sailor.

There was a headline I saw on sfgate I think yesterday for a story about how San Francisco lost the bid, and it was something about how all the mean protestors here made the committee scared of picking SF. Thanks, mean protestors! Keep up the good work!
posted by rtha at 7:52 AM on January 10, 2015 [18 favorites]


The driving force behind the Boston bid is the head of Suffolk Construction, which is basically guaranteed to win the bids for every one of these giant projects.

But it's definitely not about bilking the taxpayers out of billions of dollars. Nope. Couldn't be. It's about civic pride!
posted by Dr.Enormous at 7:57 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


The best reform to make the Olympics viable long term is to pick one site, and hold the Olympics there every four years. Build stadiums once, and re-use them.

How about a fleet of ginormous azipod-powered stadium ships like the arks in 2012?
posted by XMLicious at 7:57 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not going to lie, upon reading the headlines this morning and relaying it to my girlfriend, we spent the next half hour discussing where we should move if the US won the bidding.

Boston is a clusterfuck already because of MIT/Harvard/Tufts/BU/BC/Cambridge/Brandeis/Emerson/Berklee students flooding the fucking pace and driving rents to crazy near-Manhattan prices every goddamn summer (meaning all residents who want livable rents must time their lease cycles for moving in the dead of winter, which is loads of fun given our weather).

The Big Dig made traffic bearable - just barely - but it's already near the tipping point as far as sustainable volume is concerned. The city is one small push away from diving right back into perpetual snarling gridlock and parking lot highways.

There is nowhere to build new infrastructure unless you want to a) build way out in the fucking boonies, which are universally that way because they are impossible to get to given current transportation layout, or b) cry havoc and just start paving over the Blue Hills Reservation or Wright's Park, which are basically the only significant uninterrupted green spaces left in the eastern third of Massachusetts.

I could go on for pages about what an incredibly stupid idea this is, how this is one of the worst possible cities you could conceivably choose, how badly every resident here needs the Olympics to happen anywhere else, but instead I'll just borrow some phrasing from those who were born here: fahk the fahking fahkers who came up with this wikkid fahking retahded idea, kid.
posted by Ryvar at 7:58 AM on January 10, 2015 [17 favorites]


The driving force behind the Boston bid is the head of Suffolk Construction, which is basically guaranteed to win the bids for every one of these giant projects.

He's actually recused his company from bidding on any of the projects. I have seen some discussion of whether he will still benefit hugely, since if other companies are tied up with the Olympics, other projects will go to his company, but still, at least he did recuse himself from that tremendous conflict of interest.
posted by instead of three wishes at 8:04 AM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was in the office with a friend who was going to school in Beijing as they were ramping up for their Olympics when she heard the news. She was not impressed that she might have to live through that experience again.

This idea is just the worst, seriously.
posted by davros42 at 8:04 AM on January 10, 2015


Are you wicked stupid?

I lived in Newton and Attleboro for a coupla years ... I'm pretty sure that's not how the saying goes ...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:10 AM on January 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


He's actually recused his company from bidding on any of the projects.

I guess. I mean, this comes long after his involvement started, and I'd be surprised if this carries all the legal weight of a fart in the wind. When (god forbid) deadlines get closer and the money is already approved and costs are going up fivefold, we'll see what happens.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 8:12 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


(The IOC points the Olympics at Los Angeles. A shot rings out.)

or 'A ring shoots out'?
posted by sexyrobot at 8:15 AM on January 10, 2015 [15 favorites]


As a native New Hampshirite, I'm excited for the possibility that southern NH might get some of the spillover benefits - visitors using the airports, hotels, restaurants, etc - without the nightmare of construction and congestion. Go for it, Boston! Bleed onto the ground so that we may drink it!
posted by Greg Nog at 8:18 AM on January 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


Unless you hope to benefit from construction contracts or tourism, I can't see why anyone would want this.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:19 AM on January 10, 2015


Although Fish has recused Suffolk Construction from bidding on any Olympic projects, as would be expected in any Boston-based project, his brother is the owner of the second largest construction company in Boston. Peabody Construction has not recused themselves from bidding.
posted by kinetic at 8:20 AM on January 10, 2015 [18 favorites]


I'm starting to come around to the idea that the Olympics are actually valuable in that they provide a way to channel the energies of organized crime, fraudsters, charlatons and former despots in the least harmful, but still harmful, way possible.
posted by srboisvert at 8:21 AM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, time to get protesting, I guess. I don't think this shitshow should have to be in anyone's backyard, but if all I can do is help stop it from being in my community, that's what there is to do.
posted by threeants at 8:22 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's funny, in my twitter feed only one friend in Boston welcomed this news (he wanted to use the facilities built for it, like a velodrome) while everyone else in my entire feed dumped on the idea and him.

Ask the cyclists in ATL how that velodrome worked out. The USOC built a temporary velodrome for the ATL Olympics and dismantled it once the games concluded. It's rumored that someone purchased it and never secured the funding to find a permanent home for it and now it's rotting away in storage somewhere in Florida.
posted by photoslob at 8:26 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are you wicked stupid?

I lived in Newton and Attleboro for a coupla years ... I'm pretty sure that's not how the saying goes ...


Yeah, unfortunately the word used for "stupid" is almost invariably "retahded", every sentence should have an equal number of punctuation marks and derivatives of the word "fahk", "wicked" is pronounced closer to "wikkid", "Quincy" and similar phonetics are pronounced closer to "Quinzee", and for the most crazy-thick accent you are required to end every sentence with ", kid."

ie "That shit's wikkid fahking retahded, kid."
posted by Ryvar at 8:30 AM on January 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm under the impression that an American city will never get the Olympics as long as we insist on subjecting foreign visitors to our hostile post-9/11 border control process. I don't know if anyone in the IOC has said so publicly, but I recall reading something about that in 2009, when President Obama traveled to Europe to personally pitch Chicago's failed bid.

I don't have the citation saved, but I came across a rather different perspective a few months ago. In the article I'm thinking of, they said that one of the reasons the IOC might seriously consider Boston is because we did such a good job shutting the city down during the manhunt for the Boston bomber. I may not be remembering the exact quote, and maybe the source wasn't reliable, but it kind of makes sense to me. I really get the sense that the Olympics want to embrace super strict security.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:31 AM on January 10, 2015


It's rumored that someone purchased it and never secured the funding to find a permanent home for it and now it's rotting away in storage somewhere in Florida.

So you're saying it's available?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:32 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the radio the other day, the guy defending the olympic bid was touting all the transportation improvements. When asked why we couldn't just spend a fraction of the money on the T without the olympics, he had no coherent answer.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 8:33 AM on January 10, 2015 [20 favorites]


Wikipedia has a (perhaps overly) detailed run down of what happened to the Atlanta venues. (Including the Orange Bowl and RFK Stadium is of course accurate, but perhaps not very interesting.) Fulton Country Stadium and the Omni were likely always destined to be destroyed because of the whims of professional sports teams, so the largest complete waste was in the velodrome, as mentioned above.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:48 AM on January 10, 2015


according to some, the Olympics could improve the public transportation system

Even if this is true (according to who?), it's pretty sad that it needs an international symbol of sports excess to come to town before something like that can happen, yeah?


A gas tax increase passed by the legislature and meant to fund T improvements was repealed by ballot measure in the last election.

Speaking as a long term observer of Boston development, and therefore a cynic, I'm actually mildly optimistic that a successful Olympic bid would actually force the city/state to make long overdue infrastructure improvements that will otherwise be bogged down in the morass of the existing Boston development process. The athelete's village would apparently be turned either into dorms or affordable housing; either way it's another 10K units, which would do a lot to help the housing situation in Boston. Menino and Walsh have both endorsed housing plans that call for tens of thousands of units by 2020; they want the bulk of them to be middle class, but from the developers I talk to that's about impossible, because of zoning, union construction costs, and lack of infrastructure.
posted by Diablevert at 8:48 AM on January 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I lived in Newton and Attleboro for a coupla years ... I'm pretty sure that's not how the saying goes ...

Agreed, "Wicked" is value neutral or positive. "Fahckin'" is used for negative connotations.

"Whataya, fahckin' stoopit?" is grammarly correctual, kid.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:52 AM on January 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


If a new stadium, where are they going to put it?

The promoters refuse to commit to anything, but have floated the idea of using a "dingy industrial" area next to the Expressway, which is currently where most of the region's food-distribution functions are. If they do use that area (and Boston has just renewed its eminent domain land-taking power), they'll displace all those food services and attendant jobs to somewhere farther away. But the area will presumably not be dingy and industrial any more, so there's that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:02 AM on January 10, 2015


My favorite Bosstones song seems applicable here:

They came to Boston on their vacation
They came, they saw, they annoyed me
They saw it all - what? - Faneuil Hall
It's best that they just avoid me

Rented a car to see the sights
They found the Hub confusing
Looked for the swan boats in Mattapan
Well, I find that real amusing

I was here before they came
I'll be here long after
Don't wanna share but it seems clear
That I'm gonna have to
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:03 AM on January 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


> He's [Suffolk Construction owner] actually recused his company from bidding on any of the projects.

I know in my bones, like the way I know that Spring will come after Winter, that he will find a way for his company to soak up a whole bunch of the Olympics money. E.g. have his cousin start up a brand new company that bids on contracts, which then leases all its equipment from Suffolk. I thought that up in 30 seconds, and I'm not even a lawyer.

My neighborhood (Boylston/Fenway) is going through a building boom right now, where 15 floor luxury high-rises are being built. For now it's mostly one-to-three story old commercial buildings that are going down, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be priced out of my area in the next ten years. If I were a developer I would love to have the "emergency" of the Olympics to push through my plans, and non-developer me doesn't share Diablevert's optimism. Though this is mostly based on pure cynicism, and I would be glad to be proved wrong. threeants, let me know if you find any good ways to protest.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:08 AM on January 10, 2015


It is an effort to kill the Olympics all together - rather than finding a way to make it work

The only way to make it work would be to imprison each member of the IOC (see Norway's reason for rejecting the Winter Games). Then we could get to work setting up a couple permanent locations for the Games. I'd lean towards ones servicing the biggest TV audiences because that's the only way to finance the mess.
posted by Ber at 9:11 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


e's actually recused his company from bidding on any of the projects. I have seen some discussion of whether he will still benefit hugely, since if other companies are tied up with the Olympics, other projects will go to his company, but still, at least he did recuse himself from that tremendous conflict of interest.

Ever hear of sub contracting? I'll bet he has.
posted by notreally at 9:14 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love the city of Boston. My username is one of the city's prominent mayors. My surname comes from one of the original Dorchester Plantation planters of 1635 and we're still here. I think of Boston as a nurturing force that protects and comforts me.

That said, this city does NOT have the infrastructure to support that influx. Our mass transit is total shit. It is third-world. Those improvements to infrastructure should come because the city needs them, and without an Olympic-level cash grab. It's disgusting to think that we have to use what is essentially a bribe to local officials and contractors cloaked as a civic achievement.

I pledge to be as rude and hostile as humanly possible to Olympic visitors. I hope that people will join me in promising that if the city is selected, it will be the most unpleasant Olympics ever.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:19 AM on January 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


McMillan's Other Wife: " I will just cite a possible pro: according to some, the Olympics could improve the public transportation system - and as a user of it, that would be welcome."

I was mostly in favor of Chicago's original tentative bid, which included lots of upgrades to Chicago transit and to REGIONAL transit (which is something Obama's been stumping for since he was a state senator, and Ray LaHood is big on, and basically everyone in the midwest agrees we need better regional transit but it's hard to pay for) -- like the kayaking venue was going to be in South Bend, which has a significant kayaking run already on the St. Joe river where Olympic kayakers train; some of the soccer and other stadium sports were going to be in Milwaukee; and they were talking about putting other venues in the Chicago suburbs (a little town north of the city has the only Olympic-sized velodrome in the area that its park district runs, for example) or in places like Rockford and Peoria in existing stadiums and venues. Then they'd use high-speed rail as transit to the outlying venues, which would be 90 minutes away maximum by high-speed rail. And I thought, wow, that's a really great idea, using existing big stadiums in Chicago for most of the games, and spreading benefits to outlying cities while upgrading regional transit, instead of engaging in slum clearance for stadiums that will be knocked down right after the games.

Of course the IOC was like, "Uh, nobody wants to go to your shit towns nobody's heard of, and definitely not Milwaukee" and all the cool parts of the plan were scrapped in favor of condos on the lakefront and putting a new stadium in a historically-landmarked park for the final, submitted bid. And then the IOC was like, "Why do we have to use your stupid park district facilities instead of your cool professional stadiums? And why are you not using any taxpayer dollars to pay for the temporary stadia? We thought you were cool, Chicago. We thought you were down with corruption. We are disappointed with your sensible plan that doesn't unduly burden taxpayers."

Anyway, I thought the original plan would have been something of a hassle to live through, but pretty neat as a city and regional showcase, and had some real benefits to the city and the region. The final plan was just some stupid shit that would have inconvenienced the city for a month and provided no lasting benefits except CTA upgrades. Who needs more rich-people condos on the lakefront? And why you wanna fuck up our historically-significant parks, IOC?

(So don't worry, Boston, by the time the bid is finalized, it'll be a pile of suck.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:22 AM on January 10, 2015 [16 favorites]


I know people in the Bay Area who are breathing a sigh of relief.
posted by acb at 9:29 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The golden age of the Olympics is long past. I kinda wish they'd fade away for a few decades to be reborn as a smaller scale event for amateur athletes. Even my nostalgia can't make me watch the pre-packaged tripe that passes for the marque events. i still enjoy the more 'obscure' competitions, like archery and greco-roman wrestling, but I know the love i had as a child is not shared by my kids, for whom the Olympics means pretty much nothing.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:30 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I pledge to be as rude and hostile as humanly possible to Olympic visitors. I hope that people will join me in promising that if the city is selected, it will be the most unpleasant Olympics ever.

So you're saying that bostonians should just act normally?
posted by octothorpe at 9:41 AM on January 10, 2015 [18 favorites]


I lived in L.A. during the '84 Olympics and I'd host it again in a heartbeat under Peter Uberroth, just for the 60% reduction in congestion. It's unbelievable that the city discarded everything that worked as soon as it was over. Anyway, it was far from a nightmare to live through; everyone I knew had a blast.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:43 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


(And I lived and worked right near UCLA, a major site during the games.)
posted by Room 641-A at 9:46 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, screw that. The Olympics have been shown time and again to bring little to no value and nothing but headaches to residents.

LA in '84 turned a profit. We'd have to build even less infrastructure than last time. The biggest inconvenience would be that some kids down at USC would be kicked out of their dorms for a few weeks.
posted by sideshow at 10:00 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Chicago, here's Blue Mass Group's jconway discussing his work on the Chicago Olympic bid, and why he thinks the IOC will choose someplace that's not Boston:
1) The Host City and the IOC want completely different things
. . .
2) The IOC Always gets What it Wants
. . .
3) They always lose money
. . .
4) They don’t showcase your city’s assets
. . .
5) Boston is not what the IOC wants
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:05 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Isn't the football stadium free in the summer? Schedule all the redsocks games away and use that venue. A bunch of college stadiums could be made available. Push out all the students from the dorms that season.
posted by sammyo at 10:05 AM on January 10, 2015


The biggest inconvenience would be that some kids down at USC would be kicked out of their dorms for a few weeks.

Having done the USC summer program thing, most of those dorms aren't in use at that time anyway. LA really feels like the US city that can handle this properly.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:07 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I voted against the Vancouver olympic bid when it was first put before the city, with my objection being that the olympics put circuses above bread. I was wrong. The games were awesome for the city and the legacy is pretty impressive.

Vancouver got a fixed rapid transit link from downtown to the airport/Richmond that continues to operate at capacity. The line opened a corridor for higher density development. The widening of the Sea-to-Sky highway to Whistler is a huge improvement in terms of safety and drivability. The curling rink/parolympic games venue was turned into a first class fully accessible recreational facility with library, pool, hockey, curling, and gym called Hillcrest Community Centre. That venue has had millions of visitors and is packed to the gills with affordable recreation opportunities for everybody in the city.

Sure there were some boondoggles, like the Athlete's village and the Richmond Olympic Oval for speed skating. These are tales of mismanagement more than anything else. We shouldn't be surprised by crooked condo developments. The Olympic Oval conversion I think could be fixed if they didn't price membership so high and provided towels like any other gym with its calibre of equipment and facilities.

I was pleasantly surprised by the experience of being here in Vancouver for the 2010 games and from the legacy. They're not universally bad for every city.
posted by crazycanuck at 10:12 AM on January 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah, John Fish has recused himself from bidding on any Olympic construction projects. Problem is, his company is ENORMOUS. Like, half the volume of all major construction projects in metro Boston big. So one of two things will happen.

1. The other construction companies in the area ramp up their operations enormously, and devote all their collective resources to Olympic construction for the next 10 years. Meanwhile, there will be no bandwidth for any other major construction projects in the area, so Suffolk will be the only bidder on all the luxury condos (and god knows what else) springing up in Fort Point and downtown.

2. The other constuction companies won't be able to handle the work, and will subcontract to Suffolk. Probably much more plausible, because the second largest construction company around here, Peabody Construction, is owned by Ted Fish. As in, John's younger brother.

This man is a plague on our fair town, and he and his family are going to make millions of dollars off the Olympics while the rest of us suffer through ten years of traffic diversions around the construction, and then six months of a police state before and during the games.
posted by Mayor West at 10:15 AM on January 10, 2015 [13 favorites]


LA is possibly the only city in the world that could pull off an Olympics with literally no big-infrastructure investment (even the velodrome is still in good shape at CSUDH). Refitting and upgrading some existing facilities would be all it would take.

At the same time, I have a feeling that the LA business community wasn't entirely convinced to cough up enough in bribes.
posted by chimaera at 10:17 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


From what I heard around LA, the 2024 bid was not being taken as seriously as possible since 2016 is Rio and 2020 is Tokyo, so 2024 was assumed to be a European city. (The past trends don't include three in a row outside of Europe.) I'd expect a very hard push for LA in 2028.
posted by dogwalker at 10:20 AM on January 10, 2015


This was the most hilarious e-mail in Simmons' mailbag yesterday:

Have you ever been to a party where 100 people show up, but the space provided is only really enough for about 20 of them. And only one person that lives there is actually throwing the party, so pretty much all of the people that live there are pissed off that you are there? And the one person throwing the party doesn’t actually have enough money to fund the party, so they had to ask their roommates (who already didn’t want you there) for money, just pissing them off even more? And the party apartment has furniture oddly place around it so its almost impossible to get around as is, let alone with 80% more people in it? Oh, and those roommates that live there and don’t want you there and are already pissed off? They love to drink. Mostly whiskey. So they are definitely going to abrasively let all the outsiders know how they really feel? I give you #Boston2024.
—Matt, Boston

posted by bukvich at 10:33 AM on January 10, 2015 [20 favorites]


I still have a pair of red Atlanta 1996 swim shorts that I bought at a substantial discount shortly after the games. They have proven themselves nigh indestructible and unloseable. Unlike other trunks I've obtained that were more fashionable and comfortable.
posted by humanfont at 10:43 AM on January 10, 2015


LA is possibly the only city in the world that could pull off an Olympics with literally no big-infrastructure investment (even the velodrome is still in good shape at CSUDH). Refitting and upgrading some existing facilities would be all it would take.

Not to mention the post-1984 addition of light rail, trains, Staples Center, and a possible football stadium at LA Live. Hell, even UCLA has the new John Wooden facility.

posted by Room 641-A at 10:43 AM on January 10, 2015


I can't find the article now (sorry! I know that stinks) but someplace I read that Fish was very specific in his comments about recusing his company from "Olympic construction" and the author was making the point that he was referring to venues only. Which leaves a lot of transit upgrades and things like that for him to bid on.
So yeah. He ain't gonna miss out on the millions of dollars.
posted by bowmaniac at 10:46 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Boston already has one world-class established sporting event.

Um, two, at least. But my understanding is that the rowing races would happen well out of town, because there isn't a single stretch of the Charles wide enough and straight enough to support even the sprint races.

So I guess I'm weird but I would be OK with the Olympics happening in Boston. The throngs of tourists would only be here for two weeks and I can tolerate them for that long assuming I'm able to get to some of the events myself. I think it would be pretty neat if they can actually use the various college stadiums and arenas around here for the events. I don't think I would be affected by construction too much but I feel for anyone who is. I imagine I'd get tired of the media coverage in the runup to the games.

The main problem I see is the cost. I'm not really sure how much the transportation system can be improved. They can't straighten out the red line around Harvard or the green line at Boylston. They're already shoving bus lines through some pretty narrow streets, I'm not sure how they can expand them further. Probably the #1 improvable part of the system is the commuter rail. It is crazy how much either hot or cold days can cause the trains to have problems. But most of the Olympic visitors probably won't be taking the commuter rail, so who knows if they'll actually try to improve it.

There's been a suggestion to spend 1% of the funds on potentially useful improvements, which I would support.
posted by A dead Quaker at 10:52 AM on January 10, 2015


My favorite idea for managing the Olympics remains the one Homeboy Trouble posted a couple of years ago.
posted by Kat Allison at 10:59 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Headline: USOC selects Boston for possible bankruptcy

I'm a huge fan of the (abstract) Olympic movement and spirit. BUT, something has to be done with the IOC to keep their demands from generally causing financial disaster for the host cities. Virtually nobody wants to host the Olympics anymore.

Don't even get me started on sports on the IOC wants to kick out of the games because they're not telegenic enough. Lots of room for beach volleyball, though.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 11:03 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


So you're saying that bostonians should just act normally?

Ho ho! Pardon your zinger!

I'm not talking about indifferent-rude. I'm hoping for directing Olympic visitors to distant, irrelevant neighborhoods and basically anything short of assault. I would like it if a Boston Olympics was widely remembered as the most unpleasant of all time.

I would earnestly rather the city hosted Ebola.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:11 AM on January 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


Personally, I'm bummed LA didn't get it. I can deal with some shittier than usual traffic or whatever temporary inconveniences if the upside includes permanent improvements to public transit. Maybe we'll get the 100 year anniversary games? I would've felt the same way when I lived in Boston.

It's strange how conservative the Metafilter community can be when it comes to physical change rather than political change in our environments.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:25 AM on January 10, 2015


My brief visits to Boston lead me to believe that it's an awful place to host an event of this size.

The streets are narrow, windy and therefore congested even on good days, and most of them change names every freakin' mile. My girlfriend was living & going to school in the North End for a couple of years, so most of my experience there was all about going around on foot in a small neighborhood. That part of it was great. Going outside the North End? Aggravating, terrifying, WTF.

I can't see any rational justification to subject thousands of non-English-speaking tourists to a city layout that was too confusing for an English-speaking Los Angeles boy. Unless the whole plan is to have hotels, stores and random kiosks present to extort lost and distressed foreigners at every step of the way.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:35 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


As a Cantabrigian, I only hope we can rip off both the US Federal Government and the IOC to get some new infrastructure. I hope we'll look back on the build-out as "Big Dig II" - Boston gets some new infrastructure, somebody else gets the bill. And Hey! we can get Mitt Romney to run the thing! What could go wrong?

A recent conversation:
Colleague: I'd love to have the Olympics in Boston!
Me: Have you thought about what it's going to cost and who's going to foot the bill?
C: ….
Me: Yeah, not so exciting now…

But they're going to be transparent, so that's what makes it better...
posted by Farce_First at 11:54 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


> The streets are narrow, windy and therefore congested even on good days, and most of them change names every freakin' mile.

I've never gotten lost as quickly and thoroughly as I did the one time I drove to my friend's place in Boston (this was in the pre-GPS days, kids).
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:55 AM on January 10, 2015


When London actually won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics, there was uproar. Almost nobody wanted them. It'd be a disaster. Too expensive. A ridiculous boondoggle and a distraction. The negativity was incredible.

And that was just the start of it.

Nothing about London suggested it'd be a suitable venue for the event. The IOC demands were ludicrous (special car lanes for dignitaries that NOBODY else was allowed to use, for instance). Anti-aircraft missile defence structures were mounted on rooftops of council buildings despite residential concerns. You really couldn't make it up.

It would be the worst thing ever.

And then the games took place and everything changed. It was an amazing event. The usual British cynicism evaporated for a few weeks, as the games themselves and then the Paralympics gripped the nation.

As it turned out, the usual negativity around such things was misplaced.

I can't say that this is a typical story, or that it'll ever be repeated anywhere else. And chances are, it won't go to Boston anyway. But if it does, then possibly it won't be as bad as you imagine. Maybe it'll turn out OK.

After all, I was a somewhat angry cynic right up until the opening ceremony. I don't know how it happened, but for a short period in 2012, the UK was a better place.

And whilst the goodwill evaporated quickly afterwards and things quickly returned to normal, for those few (comparatively short) moments, it was amazing.

Good luck, Boston -- either way. :)
posted by chrimble at 12:07 PM on January 10, 2015 [7 favorites]


I lived in L.A. during the '84 Olympics and I'd host it again in a heartbeat under Peter Uberroth, just for the 60% reduction in congestion. It's unbelievable that the city discarded everything that worked as soon as it was over. Anyway, it was far from a nightmare to live through; everyone I knew had a blast.--Room 641-A

The LA 84 Olympics actually made a profit, to the tune of $200 million, some of which went back to the city. Most cities just don't know how to pull these large scale efforts off without losing money. Los Angeles is full of industry that routinely spends 100s of millions entertaining the public, in which making a profit is the whole point.
posted by eye of newt at 12:23 PM on January 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


crazycanuck: "The games were awesome for the city and the legacy is pretty impressive."

The Winter Olympics, being quite a bit smaller (just under 3,000 athletes in 98 events; compared to more than 10,000 athletes in 302 events), seem more manageable and less of a boondoggle, typically. They also most often occur in cities with at least some tourism-and-winter-resort infrastructure because of the need for skiing venues, and they don't focus as much on "world-class city showcase" but "cool winter resort town you may or may not have heard of." I can imagine increased tourism for skiing, etc., making up for bobsled runs that don't get much, if any, use after the Olympics. Most everything else is pretty reusable ... I mean, you don't really NEED a pro-sized hockey arena/skating venue in most of these cities, but it's not like municipal rinks don't get used all the time!

If you look at Wikipedia, first-world Winter Olympics seem to cost between 1/3 and 1/5 of what the nearest first-world Summer Olympics cost. Beijing and Sochi are the Spider Georgs of this list and such monstrous outliers that I don't think you can draw any conclusions there except that non-First-World countries are willing to spend a LOT OF MONEY to get the Olympic to come to town.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:28 PM on January 10, 2015


hydropsyche Atlanta has at times been hailed as a city that saw benefits from the Olympics. It did start renewal of both downtown and midtown. Centennial Park is pretty great and has become a widely used and loved place for everything from giant music festivals to just kids playing in the fountain. The equestrian park east of the city in Conyers is still well-used and loved.
For real? Seriously? Do you live in Atlanta? IMO to say the Olympics benefitted Atlanta is to grossly oversell them. Centennial park is misery. All the interesting stuff happens in Piedmont (or, back when it existed, Grant Park). You have to drive to get there and it's in the middle of an urban highrise dead zone where nothing happens. The Georgia Horse Park is likewise continually empty. None of the cross-country courses are open, and I guess you can go gallop the steeplechase track but that's basically it unless you're there for one of the two hunter-jumper shows. You can drive down the four-lane entry road and not see another car and watch the rot around you. As much as I loved MARTA, it's basically just a glorified airport shuttle. The kayaking stuff near the state line is not really a boom town. I could go on, and I won't even get into the ways the city was split by the Grady curve. Ugh. And now Turner Field is being torn down?

I'm now an SFBA resident, and I'm thrilled that SF isn't in the running. No thanks, IOC. You guys can fuck right off.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 12:37 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


They should have chosen Detroit. It needs the money and is hungry for the job.
posted by Brian B. at 12:40 PM on January 10, 2015 [11 favorites]


Oh man, yeah, Detroit would have been a nice choice.
posted by maryr at 12:47 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


They should have chosen Detroit. It needs the money and is hungry for the job.

According to this table at Wikipedia, it seems like hosting the Olympics actually loses you money about 50% of the time. And this article at CNN from a couple of years ago digs in to it further.

But in general, it doesn't seem like hosting the Olympics is a good bet as a revenue generating plan.
posted by dotgirl at 12:53 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


If Western cities do not stay part of the Olympic bidding process, then the Olympics will end up being held under dictators only.

So many Americans and Westerners want to just abandon the Olympics, instead of fighting to make the games workable.
- Flood

This is basic economics, actually. The IOC generally "awards" the Olympic Games to the place with the biggest price tag, not the place with the best plan. Since the IOC seems stubbornly resistant to actual reform, cutting off the supply of hugely expensive bids and graft seems the best approach. If we can starve the IOC of its huge budgets, maybe we can rid it of its most corrupt members and practices, and get back to the ideal of "yay sports and hey, look at this neat city" instead of "these people provided the biggest profit to this tiny cabal of committee members and their approved global brands off the backs of taxpayers."

It's worth noting as people hold up LA84 as an example of an Olympic Games that had a surplus that the bid was privately financed and was selected by default, as the single bid from the single country even making a bid. It's not that it's impossible to host the Games without losing an astonishing amount of money, it's that it's very difficult within the system provided. Rather than participate in it I'd rather we just not play. That's how LA kept from losing money.

And like many commenters above, as a DC resident, homeowner, taxpayer, and user of public transportation, I'm happy that some other city was sent to the firing line instead of my own. My condolences to the people of Boston on their loss. Thanks for taking one for the rest of us.
posted by fedward at 1:06 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


If Western cities do not stay part of the Olympic bidding process, then the Olympics will end up being held under dictators only.

I'm not seeing the downside here.
posted by Shmuel510 at 1:35 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hey, bring it to Seattle. We've already got a huge hole in the ground, literally, into which we are pouring cash every single day. We are ready for the IOC to set us up with the Kurt Cobain Memorial Velodrome. Let's do this.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:47 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


My idea for the opening ceremony: the Patriots run onto the field and beat the everliving crap out of the Olympic Committee.
posted by uosuaq at 2:22 PM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Are they planning a new stadium

Does Boston have a stadium capable of holding 80 000 people? Last time I read the IOC bid documents, that's what they required. Seriously if you want an admittedly kinda dry and technical but fascinating read, check this out, it's the technical standards manual from the IOC. Dated to 2005 (and lists the requirements for the Athletics--track/field--venue as 60K, page 100, which isn't necessarily the same requirement as the opening ceremonies venue) but desultory Googling didn't find a more recent version and the IOC doesn't seem to make them publicly available anymore (gee, I wonder why).

My ex moved to London at the end of 2011, and was repeatedly angered by the dumb surrounding the games; his flat was right near the cycling course and getting to/from work was a nightmare.

I think Toronto could probably do okay with the games, but only if sane heads prevail and instead of building tons of new sports venues we take advantage of the entire region--expand the rowing course at Henley in St Catharines, for example; do cycling out through the Niagara Escarpment; improve university sports facilities for many of the events. That would be fantastic.

Instead, we're doing the Pan-Am Games next year and I live like three blocks from the Athletes' Village. I am seriously tempted to sublet my apartment at some exorbitant rate and get the fuck out of Dodge while it's going on.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:46 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hey, bring it to Seattle.

One of the proposed bids for 2028 is a joint Seattle/Vancouver bid, apparently.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:46 PM on January 10, 2015


Yeah there have been murmurings of a joint Toronto/Buffalo bid. While I applaud the idea in principle (peace and cameraderie between nations is one of the Olympic ideals after all), I can't even begin to imagine the logistical nightmares of security and border crossings. To say nothing of the obvious and savage fighting over who gets to host the opening ceremonies.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:49 PM on January 10, 2015


I can't even begin to imagine the logistical nightmares of security and border crossings.

I wouldn't be surprised if they set up some sort of "secure area/transit" that exempts you from some of the requirements, as that would just make official the already-existing fact of the so-called 'tourists' spending basically zero money outside of the official venues and in the actual community.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 3:16 PM on January 10, 2015


I really RILLY like living in (metro) Buffalo, but really it's hard to think of anything that Buffalo could do for an Olympics that the GTA couldn't do better.

It would be amusing if the marathon were "Start at Yonge and Queen's Quay and just follow Yonge north."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:18 PM on January 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I live right down the road from Gilette. I am going to build a dorm in my backyard and make millions on Air BnB.
posted by Biblio at 3:31 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


The focus should be on reforming the IOC.


The only effective way to do that is to start a competing organization and start organizing alternative sports festivals.

As for the IOC, light a match and walk away.
posted by ocschwar at 3:37 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would love to see the US bid go to Pierre, SD or some small town in Vermont as a sign to the international community that no one should really want to host the games.

Let's go ahead and let dictators host the games. If the IOC is going to rip off someone, let it be a government that deserves it.
posted by dances with hamsters at 3:40 PM on January 10, 2015


For real? Seriously? Do you live in Atlanta? IMO to say the Olympics benefitted Atlanta is to grossly oversell them. Centennial park is misery. All the interesting stuff happens in Piedmont (or, back when it existed, Grant Park). You have to drive to get there and it's in the middle of an urban highrise dead zone where nothing happens. The Georgia Horse Park is likewise continually empty. None of the cross-country courses are open, and I guess you can go gallop the steeplechase track but that's basically it unless you're there for one of the two hunter-jumper shows. You can drive down the four-lane entry road and not see another car and watch the rot around you. As much as I loved MARTA, it's basically just a glorified airport shuttle. The kayaking stuff near the state line is not really a boom town. I could go on, and I won't even get into the ways the city was split by the Grady curve. Ugh. And now Turner Field is being torn down?

I'm now an SFBA resident, and I'm thrilled that SF isn't in the running. No thanks, IOC. You guys can fuck right off.


You perhaps have not been to Atlanta in a while?

Centennial Park is now the site of the Sweetwater 420 festival and a number of other huge music things. It's an easy walk from both the Peachtree Center and Dome stations and is now on the streetcar line which started running last week. In addition to the Aquarium and World of Coke, it's now adjacent to the Civil Rights Museum and the College Football Hall of Fame. And of course the fountain is pretty much always full of kids when it's above freezing.

I have a friend who moved to Conyers specifically to be near the equestrian park. I'm not a horsey person, but she likes it.

I ride MARTA all the time, only very rarely to the airport.

And it turns out GSU is buying Turner Field to turn it into their football stadium, and they plan to build their baseball stadium next door, on the site of Fulton County Stadium. So fuck the Braves, things are looking up there, too.

Come visit. I think you've forgotten what a nice city this is. If you never knew, it's not too late to find out.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:51 PM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


As a bay area lifer, thanks Boston and I'm sorry for your loss. Given our current real estate and traffic pressures, it would suck on a monumental level and I'm pretty sure it will suck for Boston, too. If the new 49ers stadium is any indication, we aren't doing too well with new sports stadiums anyway.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:11 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I pledge to be as rude and hostile as humanly possible to Olympic visitors. I hope that people will join me in promising that if the city is selected, it will be the most unpleasant Olympics ever.

Peak time to be vocal and rude is before the IOC selects their host city. We need to show them that our communities will not tolerate being the site of someone else's giant party.

And I hope all the other cities in contention will turn out mass protests too, so that nobody has to open their collective arms to this bullshit neoliberal carnival of disruption and displacement.
posted by threeants at 4:27 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


OH HELL NO.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:39 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


hydropsyche You perhaps have not been to Atlanta in a while?
...
Come visit. I think you've forgotten what a nice city this is. If you never knew, it's not too late to find out.
Admittedly not - but I adored Atlanta while I was there and haven't forgotten. Decatur and Reynoldstown were my jams, etc. I just... I don't see the ROI on the Olympics, y'know? You see the evidence that the games existed in/around ATL, but so little of that is in the public trust and useful to the public. Glad to hear that Centennial isn't the desert it once was, but I don't think any city in the USA needs to spend $20,000,000,000 on infrastructure that might be useful in 15+ years, but will more likely be torn down immediately. Give me $20bn worth of public transit, community velodromes, and neighborhood natatoriums instead.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 4:45 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Honestly for the cost of the Games it really does make sense to just build an Olympic City somewhere appropriate. Well, two I guess, one for winter and one for summer. I think I've said this before. Then kick the hosting up to the national level--so e.g. for the next Olympics, Canada plays host to the Games, and covers the costs of running the city, refurbishment, upgrades etc for the four years previous. End of the closing ceremonies, the next host nation takes over the cost for the next four years. Fund initial construction with money raised from all countries around the world, maybe divvied up according to how many athletes each fielded in the most recent Games.

I suspect you'd see costs plummet--and you'd be able to smooth out a lot of the weird spikes in record times (e.g. the pool in Beijing) because there wouldn't be sudden infrastructure changes every four years.

The two sites would be difficult to select, yeah, but would put an end to most of the problems.

Of course none of this is possible because the IOC is answerable to nobody, and nobody's going to say no to them.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:55 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The two sites would be difficult to select, yeah

Athens and Oslo. There, that was easy.
posted by Shmuel510 at 5:30 PM on January 10, 2015 [13 favorites]


[wanders off to bring peace to the Middle East, invent five workable methods for cold fusion, and brush his teeth]
posted by Shmuel510 at 5:32 PM on January 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Perhaps you need to reread my comments here. I was in no way positive about the Olympics, I just pointed out that some people in Atlanta have been at times and that there were some good things that came out of it. But I also listed a ton of negatives, and I in no way think that any city should be excited to host the Olympics.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:42 PM on January 10, 2015


#nolympics
#thisisourfuckingcity
posted by uosuaq at 6:00 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mayor Curley: I love the city of Boston. … I pledge to be as rude and hostile as humanly possible to Olympic visitors. I hope that people will join me in promising that if the city is selected, it will be the most unpleasant Olympics ever.

Yep, checks out: he's a local, all right!

As a resident of Rhode Island, I would groan at the extra traffic streaming up I-95 from our handy airport heading north to the Games, and maybe over to the now Patriots-free Bentley College fields. I expect that our airport would jump at the chance to grab more of their neighborhood and finally extend their runways "for all the airliners coming in direct from Europe." But I fear for who in Boston would be kicked out to make way for stupid, short-lived facilities that cause permanent dislocations, and I know every aspect of the thing would be positively marinated in kick-backs and palm-grease. Ugh.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:55 PM on January 10, 2015


Boston's public transit is going to see major improvements over the next few years: The Green Line Extension will mean lots of new trolleys to supplement the trolleys that are even now getting rehabbed in upstate NY, every single Orange Line car will be replaced; half the Red Line cars will be replaced, commuter rail's getting all new coaches and locomotives.

And none of it has anything to do with the Olympics: The legislature passed a transportation bond bill last session to pay for the new subway cars, the feds just gave the T a $990-million commitment for the Green Line Extension (so that only leaves the state another billion to find), the commuter-rail coaches and locomotives are already on their (much delayed, granted) way here.

So, no, the Olympics won't mean public transit improvements - we were already going to get them - unless you count expanding one single subway stop (JFK/UMass) for the Olympic Village (that will be built atop the old Bayside Expo Center) and, maybe, building the one temporary stop organizers want for the Olympic Stadium (which they are proposing to build on land already occupied by food processing companies that employ several hundred people; eh, their displacement is worth it, right?).
posted by adamg at 7:27 PM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Would you even need TWO cities? Just choose a city that gets sufficiently cold in the winter. It'd be fine in the summer for summer games. Make all the stadiums dual-purpose. Only need one Olympic park with dorms and so on. And during non-Olympic times they could rent out the facilities for conferences or smaller sporting events or whatever. The entire city could just be about temporary visitors. Like Vegas, only further north.
posted by clone boulevard at 8:34 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Might be tough to find a city that will be consistently cold enough going forward for winter sports while still having water warm enough for open water summer events.
posted by Mitheral at 9:18 PM on January 10, 2015


Mitheral: "Might be tough to find a city that will be consistently cold enough going forward for winter sports while still having water warm enough for open water summer events."

NOT IN US PLACES WITH CONTINENTAL CLIMATE SYSTEMS!

"Example of areas of the world with continental climates are the Northern USA (Intermountain West, Midwestern, New England), southern Canada, inland and northeastern China, Korea, northern Japan, most of Russia and Bosnia, parts of Norway, Sweden, inner parts of Spain and Turkey, parts of north and north-west of Iran, northern Iraq specifically Iraqi Kurdistan, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, some parts of Azerbaijan, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:24 PM on January 10, 2015


Lake Placid would love to be this city.
posted by maryr at 7:46 AM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mayor Curley: I'm not talking about indifferent-rude. I'm hoping for directing Olympic visitors to distant, irrelevant neighborhoods and basically anything short of assault. I would like it if a Boston Olympics was widely remembered as the most unpleasant of all time.

Mayor Curley, I actually like this idea: it would spare the area any more such interruptions for decades. Very elegant solution!

I had a wonderful friend named Denise. She had a wicked bad Boston accent, and bore it with a mixture of pride and resignation. One summer in the 1980s she worked as a Park Service Ranger at the Old South Meeting House in downtown Boston. One day a woman from the deep south took the whole tour, but remarked very pointedly on Denise's accent. Denise knows what she sounds like, but this tourists's accent was eqully strong, so she juts put up with it. By the end of the tour Denise had finally had enough, so when the lady asked her for some directions on the T, she began her answer, "So go to that station over there and get on the Orange Line. Take it one stop and then board a Red Line train that says it's going to Mattapan…"

She cackled about it unrepentantly years later.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:39 AM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


cmd-F "Logan" => 0 matches.

So I guess Boston had finally sorted out its problems with flying into and out of the city already?
posted by ardgedee at 9:57 AM on January 11, 2015


We're just going to close Logan for the duration and route everyone via Providence and Manchester airports.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:42 AM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh man, when I was at Loon Lake recently, my group stopped by Lake Placid for lunch, and if you had told me this before then I would not have believed how stuck in the 1980 Winter Olympics parts of the town are. Seriously, Lake Placid, man.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:42 AM on January 11, 2015


Why not award multiple dates to a city? A city could be awarded 2024 and 2028 for example. I suspect this is how the Winter Games dilemma will be solved. Some respectable country will step forward to claim the '22 Winter Games in exchange for being awarded the '26 Games as well.
posted by dances with hamsters at 12:27 PM on January 11, 2015


Centennial park is misery.

I was literally at Centennial Olympic Park just a week or two ago, enjoying the ice skating rink. The park was filled with people. In fact, the park is on one of my regular bike routes, and is almost always filled with people having a good time, or straying over from the Aquarium or the World of Coke, or the (totes real yo) "Luckie-Marietta" district. I may be poking fun at the artificiality of the obvious tourism draws in Downtown, but it is not at all controversial to say that their is a pre- and post-Olympics Atlanta, and that the post version is so much nicer and more hopeful than the pre. The land that COP stands on with literally nothing before being bought out and transformed; nothing but a post-industrial ghost town.

Whether any of this would have happened if the olympics had not come is debatable. Whether this was an acceptable ROI to those wearing green eyeshades is also debatable. But as someone who lives with the very real effects of the Olympics on Atlanta, I'm glad the we hosted.
posted by Panjandrum at 4:04 PM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Equestrian events will be staged in Franklin Park, a, shall we say- less desirable, neighborhood of Boston... I can see it now one morning all the horses are up on blocks and their shoes have been stolen.
posted by Gungho at 8:10 AM on January 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Equestrian events will be staged in Franklin Park, a, shall we say- less desirable, neighborhood of Boston

Equestrian running from Boston to Lexington and/or Concord or GTFO.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:15 PM on January 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


In Cambridge, but instead of horses, you have to ride piggy-back on someone wearing one of those rubber horse masks. You are judged solely on your ability to maintain a stern and aloof expression.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:54 PM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Boston Globe has the committee's proposal for all the venues. Interesting reading. A lot of glossy athletes.

The most horrifying potential event venue is the Charles River for the marathon swimming events. I kayak on the Charles often and UGH the part from Magazine Beach to the Museum of Science is stinky. I need to fully decontaminate after paddling there.
posted by kinetic at 5:54 AM on January 25, 2015


From the Globe article:
There’s some scary language for renters. ...

One of the Boston 2024 documents suggests that apartments could be put to use to host spectators.

“Using a third-party specialist to manage the operation and create a streamlined program for Boston-area landlords, leases signed for September 1 of the year preceding the Games could be executed as 9-month leases, as opposed to typical 12-month leases.
Where do they think renters are going to spend those three months, at their second house on the Cape?

I am now going to vote for whoever runs against Marty Walsh, no matter who they are.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:32 AM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


temporary Olympic Stadium

The only thing worse than spending umptyzillion dollars to build a new stadium is spending umptyzillion dollars (and God only knows what environmental damage) to build a new stadium and umptyzillion more to tear it down.

The Olympics operating budget, Boston 2024 has pledged, would be entirely privately financed

Horseshit. There'll be a private financing budget, and when that balloons--because it always does, every time the Olympics happen, and everyone pretends otherwise--the taxpayers will be on the hook for the never-insignificant overage.

Seriously, it's like the Men in Black flashy-thing the whole planet every four years.

leases signed for September 1 of the year preceding the Games could be executed as 9-month leases, as opposed to typical 12-month leases.

Translation: if you rent in Boston, you're fucked! Have a Rings tshirt.

Reading through the actual bid documents, I'm not particularly confident that these assclowns can see anything, what with their eyes having changed to dollar signs. Bid document 1, page 1 (the cover letter), paragraph 2, sentence 5: "Boston developing a sustainable Games model with a responsible, achievable budget and legacy owners for Olympic and Paralympic venues"

This is not a sentence. One would think that if one were helming a megabillion-dollar bid for the world's splashiest sporting event, one would hire a fucking copyeditor to at least glance at the very first document the USOC is supposed to read. (I suspect the first document the IOC actually reads is a cheque with a sticky note on it that says "Oh, just go ahead and fill in the blanks.")

Still in the first document, the pairing of these two statements is disgusting:
A Legacy for the Athletes:
• Developing a national program that would link Olympic Athletes with the higher education and employer communities to ensure their professional development
and long term financial security.
• Connecting Paralympic Athletes with our life science and medical communities to enhance not only their performance but their quality of life
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:40 AM on January 25, 2015


*hysterical hyperventilating laughter at rent proposals* I was so right, oh gods...
posted by maryr at 5:22 AM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mayor Walsh has signed an agreement that includes the following language:
The City, including its employees, officers and representatives, shall not make, publish or communicate to any Person, or communicate in any public forum, any comments or statements (written or oral) that reflect unfavorably upon, denigrate or disparage, or are detrimental to the reputation or statute of, the IOC, the IPC, the USOC, the IOC Bid, the Bid Committee or the Olympic or Paralympic movement. The City, including its employees, officers and representatives, shall each promote the Bid Committee, the USOC, the IOC Bid, US. Olympic. and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls and the Olympic and Paralympic movement in a positive manner.
So, not only are city employees' First Amendment rights tossed out, but they are required to shill for the Olympics and all its components. Walsh has waved this away, saying it's just "boilerplate" that all applicant cities have to sign -- as though boilerplate language has no legal force.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:53 PM on January 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Somewhere I heard the shift from "First term mayor Marty Walsh" turn to "One term mayor Marty Walsh" and I found that delicious and that is how I refer to him now.
posted by maryr at 9:24 PM on January 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


« Older Does rehabilitation means getting to play...   |   The Ancient Greeks were, I'm afraid, faceist. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments