Loss of Olympic bid a victory for Boston

Boston 2024 chairman Steve Pagliuca (left) and Boston 2024 board member Daniel Doctoroff participated in a televised debate on July 23.
Keith Bedford/Globe Staff
Boston 2024 chairman Steve Pagliuca (left) and Boston 2024 board member Daniel Doctoroff participated in a televised debate on July 23.

Mercifully, our short regional nightmare is over.

Kaput. Done. Ov-ah.

The ridiculous notion that we might play host to the 2024 Olympics officially died Monday afternoon when the United States Olympic Committee and Boston 2024 announced they’d mutually agreed to withdraw the Boston bid. Thank goodness. Free at last. This was one of the worst ideas since Bob Kraft told us he was moving the Patriots to Hartford. It was obvious from Day One that Boston 2024 was doomed.


Better sooner than later. Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh cut his losses early Monday when he informed the world that our city was not willing to give the USOC the financial guarantees it would need to present Boston as a bid city for 2024. A few hours later, the death of Boston’s bid was official.

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From the start, Boston 2024 was a clown show. There were some smart, well-meaning folks aligned with the effort, but they shot themselves in the foot at every turn. They hired the wrong people. They failed to hire the right people. They became a landing spot for larded losers from the State House and the Chamber of Commerce. They failed to utilize local leaders who actually could have helped with the message. In the process, they offended the masses. They were Hack-o-rama, planning to pay former governor Deval Patrick $7,500 per day while snubbing qualified folks who could have helped them. They kept telling us that the sun was shining while we were standing in the pouring rain. Now we are allowed to get on with our lives free of this crazy notion that we should compete with other cities for the burden of hosting the 2024 Olympic Games.

John Fish and Steve Pagliuca seem like nice guys. They were more clueless than nefarious. But they made a million bad decisions and were tone deaf to the wishes and concerns of our general population.

The final nails in the coffin were driven home last Thursday when Boston 2024 selected former New York city deputy mayor and USOC member Daniel Doctoroff to sit alongside Pagliuca in a televised Olympic debate. The contemptible Doctoroff told us he had been to six Olympics and we needed to “adjust” to the logistical and financial nightmares that would be part of the seven-year preparation and three-week shutdown that would accompany the 2024 Olympic Games.

While instructing and insulting us, Doctoroff also lied about Boston possibly losing the bid to Los Angeles.


“Rumors are rumors,’’ Doctoroff said, when asked about Los Angeles. “They were never true. We were not looking at LA. Boston is our city.’’

Four days later, Los Angeles is back in play. Of course.

Boston 2024 never had much public support around here, but our city officially stopped being the USOC’s city when the mayor refused to sign an agreement that would commit Boston taxpayers to pay for potential Olympic cost overruns. Walsh gets the credit, but it was only a matter of time before Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker dropped the State House hammer on Boston 2024.

We don’t need this. We never needed this. The Olympics have become the province of autocratic societies. That is not us. We are a free people. And we are still stinging from the Big Dig and February blizzards of 2015. We need to repair the MBTA. We need to fix our schools. It was a mistake to sell the Olympics as a solution for the T, infrastructure, schools, and housing.

Years from now, when we look back at the folly of Boston 2024 let’s remember that our rejection of the Games was never about three weeks of traffic and inconvenience. It was about taxpayers being on the hook for cost overruns, debt to our children, and another decade of cones and detours. It was about hideous white elephant venues (velodrome, anyone?).


It was about the preposterous notion of a “temporary’’ stadium (built out of Legos?) that would be built and taken down in an anonymous place called Widett Circle, which they tried to tell us was “Midtown.’’

Boston 2024 was an embarrassment. It was Bobby Valentine managing the 2012 Red Sox. It was Rosie Ruiz winning the Boston Marathon.

The death of Boston 2024 is a victory for the Hub of the Universe. It’s a triumph for rational thought. It’s a statement that we are not stupid.

Faster, Higher, Stronger. That’s the Olympic motto.

Smarter. That’s the Boston motto. Good luck to the host city of the 2024 Games. It’s not our problem anymore.

Dan Shaughnessy can be reached at