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June 03, 2020

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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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Boston will be the United States candidate in the race to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, it has been announced today.

The decision was made by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) at its Board meeting in Denver and saw the East coast city see off opposition from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

It is considered a major shock, as either one of the Californian cities was considered the favourite, but came after an unanimous decision by all 15 USOC Board members.

"We're excited about our plans to submit a bid for the 2024 Games and feel we have an incredibly strong partner in Boston that will work with us to present a compelling bid," said USOC chairman Larry Probst, in a statement.

"We're grateful to the leaders in each of the four cities for their partnership and interest in hosting the most exciting sports competition on earth.

"The deliberative and collaborative process that we put in place for selecting a city has resulted in a strong US bid that can truly serve the athletes and the Olympic and Paralympic movements."

The Boston bid has been financed by a group of wealthy Massachusetts business people, including Stephen Pagliuca, the managing director of Bain Capital and co-owner of the Boston Celtics, with many other prominent figures in the city having offered their support.

But the successful effort was not without opposition, with a group called "No Boston Olympics", claiming the Games would be costly for taxpayers, and insisting that a decision of this nature should not be made behind closed doors without a referendum.

A most recent survey by the Boston Globe found 47 per cent in favour of the bid and 43 per cent against.

"It is an exceptional honour for Boston to be chosen as US representative in the running for the 2024 Olympics," said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

"This selection is in recognition of our city's talent, diversity and global leadership.

"Our goal is to host an Olympic and Paralympic Games that are innovative, walkable and hospitable to all, Boston hopes to welcome the world's greatest athletes to one of the world's great cities."

In a sign of the times as far as Olympic bidding is concerned, Boston's compact bid leans heavily on existing venues, such as the TD Garden Arena, and college facilities, including Harvard Stadium, Boston College's Conte Forum and Boston University's Agganis Arena.

A removable Olympic stadium at Widett Circle, along Interstate 93 near Frontage Roadin the south of the city, is envisaged, with Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as athletics events, to take place there.

Aside from major teams in US sport -  including the Boston Red Sox baseball team, the Boston Celtics basketball side, and American Football's New England Patriots - Boston is best known in a sporting sense for the annual Boston Marathon, the world's oldest annual marathon.

The Olympic bid will be particularly symbolic following the tragedy experienced during the 2013 edition of the race, when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the race, killing three people and injuring an estimated 264 others

The city also hosted the World Cross Country Championships in 1992 when future marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe won the junior women's race.

New York City and Chicago bid unsuccessfully for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, events awarded to London and Rio de Janeiro respectively.

Rome is the only city to have officially declared so far it will bid for the 2024 Olympics but Germany is expected to put forward either Berlin or Hamburg.

Baku, Budapest Istanbul and Paris could be other European bidders, while Doha and either Pretoria or Gauteng Province in South Africa are other potential contenders.

The deadline for confirming bids is September 15 next year but a special invitation phase for the 2024 Olympic bid process will start on January 15, with the IOC keen to provide more consultation with cities in order to generate more popular support.

The USOC are due to reveal more details about their decision at a press conference at the : Boston Convention and Exhibition Center tomorrow at 8.30am Eastern Time.

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