The United States Olympic Committee on Tuesday adamantly denied a published report that suggested the committee would drop Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Games if its poll numbers do not improve soon.
“We believe that Boston can and should lead America’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and we are absolutely committed to our partnership with Boston 2024 and their innovative concept for hosting the Games,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement. “Any suggestion that we are considering alternatives is simply not true.”
Sandusky released the statement after The Wall Street Journal published a story online saying Olympic officials had spoken as recently as last week with Los Angeles and San Francisco about reviving their cities’ bids if there is not a rapid upswing in support in Boston. The report cited unnamed people familiar with the USOC’s plans.
Boston 2024 chief executive Rich Davey dismissed the story as false, calling it “unattributed and unfortunate.” Officials reached in Los Angeles and San Francisco also said they were unaware of any recent contact with the USOC about reviving their bids.
“It sounds like they picked their horse and they’re going to ride it,” said David Simon, president of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, a permanent civic organization that helps Los Angeles prepare bids for the Olympics. Los Angeles, which has hosted twice, routinely bids on the Summer Games.
Support for the Olympics has been dropping in Boston since January, when the USOC chose the city over competing bids from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Among Boston-area residents, just 36 percent backed the bid in March, down from 44 percent in February and 51 percent in January, according to a WBUR poll.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco said Olympic officials have not talked to city officials there about reviving that city’s bid.
“The San Francisco mayor’s office has not been contacted, and we understand that the US Olympic Committee is moving a bid forward in Boston,” said the spokeswoman, Christine Falvey. “Mayor Lee continues to support the US Olympic Committee’s decisions relating to the 2024 Olympic Games.”
A spokeswoman for Larry Baer, the San Francisco Giants chief executive, who helped spearhead that city’s bid, also cast doubt on the report. “Haven’t found any truth to this,” the spokeswoman, Staci Slaughter, wrote in an e-mail.
That statement was echoed by Steve Penny, the USA Gymnastics president. “It’s absolutely not true — the USOC is 100 percent committed to Boston,” he said. “The entire Olympic family is ready to jump on board with Boston. All we need is for Boston to say, ‘Let’s do this.’ ”