Declaring that “it would be Boston leading the United States,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh gathered with Olympians and Paralympians Monday night as the city continues its press to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
“It’s an opportunity for us to plan what the future of Boston will look like,” Walsh said, noting that the Games would bring long-term benefits to the city’s infrastructure.
The mayor was assisted by members of the Boston 2024 Partnership, which is working to bring the Games to the city, in the event at Blazing Paddles restaurant, within walking distance of Boston’s best-known sports facility, Fenway Park.
Walsh also argued that hosting the Olympics would kick-start projects across the city by giving them a deadline.
In making his pitch Monday, Walsh said the city would establish a sustainable hosting plan that others could use to help bring down costs in the future. The mayor and Partnership also said Boston would bring awareness to issues such as global warming by focusing on them when developing facilities and transportation plans.
Ah, I see. Spending billions of dollars on white elephant stadiums and on lavish perks for the grotesque members of the International Olympic Committee makes sense because … it’ll increase awareness about global warming? That might be the worst argument I’ve heard yet.
Let’s get a couple of things clear. First, the International Olympic Committee is one of the worst organizations in the world. If we’re serious about an Olympic bid, it means we’re in bed with these guys for the next decade. You thought Steve Wynn was bad? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The corruption attending casinos is small potatoes compared to what the IOC has managed over the years.
Second, the Olympics is a huge party thrown by and for (but not funded by) the 1%. Yeah, there are a few sporting events that are fun to watch, but that’s not really what it’s about. If you’re lucky, you might get a ticket in row ZZ to one of the second-string track and field events (not that there’s anything wrong with the hammer throw). But rest assured, you won’t be at the finals of the gymnastics competition, nor will you be at any of the lavish cocktail parties. The most you’ll probably get out of a Boston Olympics is a fistful of cash because you decided to leave town and were able to rent out your house at exorbitant rates to some visiting one-percenter who got the tickets that you couldn’t get.
Third, very recent events should serve as a warning that things haven’t changed much. You might have heard that Oslo (Norway) recently withdrew its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics (following the earlier withdrawals of Stockholm, Krakow, and Lviv (Ukraine)), citing among other things the lack of public support, the gargantuan price tag, and the hilariously over-the-top demands the IOC places on host countries. The IOC has pushed back on the story about the demands, arguing that these are only “suggestions and guidance … on how to improve the games experience for all,” not requirements. LOL.
Oslo’s withdrawal means that the only candidates left standing for the 2022 Games are Beijing and a place called Almaty in Kazakhstan. It has not gone unnoticed that every location in which something like small-d democracy exists has taken itself out of the bidding.
Those who want a Boston Olympics will no doubt argue that Boston needs to upgrade its public transit system, and committing ourselves to the Olympics is the only way to guarantee that we’ll actually do it. I find that argument to be pathetic. If everyone agrees that we need to fix the MBTA, then maybe we should just do it.
Mayor Walsh said that a Boston Olympics is “an opportunity for us to plan what the future of Boston will look like.” Gee, Marty, you’re the Mayor. Shouldn’t you be doing that anyway?