By now, we have all heard about the possibility that the Olympics could be held in Boston in 2024. We have heard people talk about how great this would be for Boston tourism and overall morale. We have heard people talk about how great it would be for business and that it would provide the city with a reason to conduct some much-needed renovations to our public transportation system and other buildings. We have also seen the other side of the coin. We have heard about how the Olympics would ruin our city and be detrimental to our economy. We have heard about how the Olympics would cause our city to shut down — if our public transportation system could not handle 100 inches of snow, there is no way it can handle the invasion of a few million athletes, coaches and fans.
On Wednesday, Boston 2024, a private organization promoting the Olympic bid for our city, named its board of directors. On the board of directors are a few familiar faces to the Boston sports faithful. Boston Red Sox powerhouse David Ortiz, 2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi, and Boston Celtics legends Larry Bird and Joseph Henry “Jo Jo” White all hold seats on the board. There are also a few other previous medal winners on the board of directors, including figure skating queen Michelle Kwan and paralympian Cheri Blauwet.
As these people work tirelessly to prove to the International Olympic Committee and the city of Boston that holding the Olympics in this city would be a great idea, it is up to the people of Boston to keep an open mind when forming our own opinions. Boston 2024 is using the high profile status of these familiar faces and local heroes to sway public opinion.
If the larger-than-life Ortiz thinks that holding the Olympics in the city is a good idea, maybe members of the Red Sox fan base will think so, too. If the American runner who led us to victory just one year after two bombs exploded at the finish line of the marathon thinks that Boston would benefit greatly from hosting the Olympics, Bostonians and runners around the country will join in his fight.
Following a rough winter for the Boston area, which initiated a lot of doubt about whether or not Boston is ready for such a big undertaking, Boston 2024 is looking for a rebound. This rebound comes in the form of adding a little star power to the executive board. This turned the board from a group of faceless people to a group of real people with familiar faces who have opinions that deserve to be heard.
There are talks this week that another prominent Bostonian could be taking a leadership role within the Boston 2024 organization: Red Sox owner, Larry Lucchino. Lucchino told The Boston Globe he is, “a big supporter of the Olympic movement’” but noted that it is too early in the process for him to decide if he wants to accept a leadership role.
There are two sides to every coin, and both the people in the pro and con camps have a point. It is an exciting thought that the Olympics could happen right here on our streets. The Olympics would propel Boston to the top of the heap on a global scale, and we would no longer be seen as second fiddle to New York, but rather be able to hold our own on the global stage.