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opinion | Mike Ross

Boston Olympic bid: The motivation we need

Update: The USOC announced on Jan. 8, 2015, it had selected Boston as its nominee for the 2024 Olympics.

As we sit down on our couches to watch the World Cup, we’ll all be paying careful attention to how cities across Brazil manage the logistic, financial, and security challenges before them — some of the reasons Boston could be skeptical about hosting the Olympics in 2024.

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But Boston’s path forward works, and not just for the reasons one might think, such as helping us get over our persistent “smaller than New York” Napoleon complex. Our primary reason for doing this is because it will force us to upgrade, well, everything.

To put this in terms that we can all appreciate, the Olympics is analogous to hosting a really important dinner at your home, just on a much grander scale. You use the opportunity to fix things that are broken, make new purchases, and generally clean the place up.

This we could use. To thrive well after the Olympic Games have left, we require a massive expansion of housing, transit, and general infrastructure. A new soccer stadium on the waterfront wouldn’t hurt either. But unless we invite our friends over, we’re likely to remain on our couches and put it off for another day, watching another city bask in Olympic gold instead.

Mike Ross, a former Boston city councilor, writes regularly for the Globe. Follow him on Twitter @mikeforboston.
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