Not hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics is the best thing that ever happened to Boston


Oh, and in 2015, Boston actually made a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Seven months after the US Olympic Committee named Boston the best-equipped US city to bid for the Games, we withdrew our application. The 2024 Games will take place in Paris.

This is the best thing that has ever happened to our city.

In theory, the Olympics are great. After all, who wouldn’t want to host an international event celebrating “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (faster, higher, stronger)?

Rooted in ancient Greece 3,000 years ago, the seven Olympic values ​​are friendship, excellence, respect, courage, determination, inspiration and equality.

Unfortunately, these ideals have been compromised. In 2022, the core values ​​of the Olympics stand as greed, corruption, censorship, gluttony, commercialism, cheating and apathy. Seven capital sins. The Seven Dwarfs of the Modern Games.

The Beijing 2022 Winter Games were not without great moments for American athletes. Figure skater Nathan Chen’s individual gold is easy to appreciate, and Erin Jackson’s speed skating gold was a breakthrough. Lindsey Jacobellis’ 16-year wait for gold was compelling, as was Shaun White’s farewell tour. We all wanted the USA women’s hockey team to beat Canada, and there will no doubt be more big moments before that’s over.

But the takeaways from these Games aren’t good, and I’m relieved we’re not knee deep in plans for the 2024 Summer Games here in the Universe Hub.

Want to hear some early plans for Boston 2024? They were going to play beach volleyball on Boston Common, which would have meant chopping down century-old oak trees on hallowed ground. They were going to build a disposable Olympic stadium at Widett Circle. Brookline ratepayers informed the committee that the Country Club would not be available for Olympic golf. The committee introduced Boston as a “Walking Olympics” and then informed us that the sailing competition would be held in New Bedford and the rowing competition in Lowell.

A rendering of the proposed Olympic Stadium at Widett Circle.Boston 2024

Boston 2024 would have been a disaster. We didn’t have the money. We didn’t have the premises. We will never have the Olympic spirit of volunteerism. The ongoing two-year pandemic firmly establishes that we have no appetite for the cost, traffic and inconvenience that would come with a Summer Games.

I reached out to local construction titan John Fish, who led the initial 11-member exploratory committee for Boston 2024. Does he still want us to get the deal or does he agree we’ve dodged a bullet?

“I would say we could have approached the process differently, but I think it would have been a tremendous opportunity for the city of Boston and its future,” Fish said. “Boston is a great city and, at the end of the day, if we had had this opportunity, we would have shown ourselves extremely well to the world.

“You could say we dodged a bullet, others could say it was a lost opportunity.”

The Beijing Olympics, meanwhile, are a big bowl of evil, taking place in a country ruled by fear and oppression. American athletes have been advised to bring cellphones to China to defend against government cyber-hacking. The COVID suffocation has stripped the Games of fans, joy and spontaneity. The press conferences were a comical and chilling demonstration of local domination through intimidation; foreign reporters are stuck asking about cheating scandals, while local reporters toss softballs about favorite foods and the grandeur of the event.

Beijing’s fake snow is a perfect metaphor for an event that seems increasingly grand in spectacle and short in substance.

The saga of 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva is destined to endure as the defining story of Beijing 2022. After the young superstar led the Russians to team gold last week, we have learned that she had tested positive for a drug that can enhance performance almost two months ago.

Following this discovery, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that she would still be allowed to compete for individual gold. Valieva delivered a short first-place performance on Tuesday and is favored to finish first on Thursday.

What a prank. Even though she was caught cheating (and we’ll admit she may be an innocent pawn in the Russian federation), Valieva is allowed to compete, while the International Olympic Committee has ruled that there is no would have no medal ceremony if she wins.

So the whole women’s skating competition – always a big seller for TV – has become an insult to the world’s clean athletes. It’s the kind of stain we expect from the CIO, an organization once headed by Avery Brundage, who played ball with the Nazis, and Francoist minister Juan Antonio Samaranch.

You’d think watching the Olympics would be a good diversion while the pandemic lingers on, but no. NBC’s ratings are in the dumpster, and there’s little competition buzz. These Games are more sad than special.

Paris is ready to host the Summer Games in 2024. Better them than us.

Dan Shaughnessy is a columnist for The Globe. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @dan_shaughnessy.

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