Boston is our hope to bear the torch! That is the word from the USOC anyway. Whether Boston wants the thing, I don’t know. Plenty here in Chicago were happy to see the Olympics go to Rio, but not me. There was the sting of wanting America to host the games and to see it in my town. Still as time passes and I read more on the IOC and the Olympics I feel it was not such a bad thing. Bostonians now have the opportunity to line up on both sides of the host or not to host issue, or rather to line up even more than they already have. For Beantown, the Games have begun.
Boston, you are America’s hope for the games, but the decision is yours. You would throw a great party, but you would not be diminished if the Games went somewhere else, because like Chicago which lost the bid for 2016 and New York which lost it for 2012, you are a great city. “You don’t need the rings to prove it.”
What I have here is kind of my first list of 2015, the thoughts of someone who loves the Olympics and would love to see America host them, but they are thoughts that go both ways.
Why Boston Should Bear the Torch:
- Boston is an American Town: This is more than just national pride, though it is certainly that. The United States can handle the Games much better than most of the world. There will be cost overruns and the like, but if we had to, we could pull the Olympics off in Omaha; Boston is certainly equipped to handle it.
- Maybe the IOC Really Does Want a New Model: I don’t have a lot of confidence in this, but in theory the IOC wants more economically sustainable games rather than grand schemes. At some point the Olympics has to be about using existing and modular venues and not being such a big production. Boston could pave the way for this.
- The Democratic Choice: Berlin, Moscow, Beijing, Sochi…..let’s face it Olympic decisions are not about human rights and republican virtue, but it wouldn’t kill the IOC to do the right thing this time.
- No American Rivalry: “Other” Americans would wish Boston well. Not so with previous contenders…..LA was the been there done that choice controlled by the liberal left, Chicago is corrupt and part of Obamastan, and New York….well New York is New York. Joking aside, outside of a snarky post in the LA Times and a few Yankee fans, most Americans don’t have it in for the “cradle of liberty.”
- Europeans will feel at home: Let’s face it Boston, your streets are a hot mess. Parisians and Romans will love it.
Why Boston Should Say No:
- Boston is an American Town: I for one do not want to see another snub of the United States and the competition for 2024 may well include powerhouses like Paris, Berlin, and Rome. The European composition of the IOC aside, these are heavyweights each capable and deserving of the spectacle and each is more equipped to handle the Games than perhaps any American city.
- The IOC…..not so Democratic: In addition to often favoring autocratic states where money is no object, the IOC wins no awards for being democratic. I love the Olympics, but the reputation of it being a venue for rich Europeans to party is not unwarranted. You don’t need to be on the side of liberty to host a party.
- The Olympics Are Always a Boondoggle: I’ve not seen one report to suggest there is any financial incentive to carry the torch and most of what I read suggest just the opposite….host the Olympics, lose money, that’s the way it is. Perhaps Bostonians have recouped from that Big Dig thing enough to be willing to lose a few more dollars, but I’ve a feeling that is not the thought of many if not most.
- Likelihood of going “Denver”: Boston’ s citizen opponents (who love and cherish their city) have vowed to do everything to thwart the games up to going to the ballot box. That happened once before with the 76 winter games, when conservative taxpayers and environmentalists teamed up and told the IOC they can keep their hands off the Rockies and take it to the Alps. Boston is no stranger to tax revolts. To this day “America runs on”….not tea and Walden Pond if I recall is the birthplace of the environmental movement.
- Boston Strong and Wicked Cool: Does a place that is at once so wonderfully charming and urban gritty even need the games? No, but does it even help to create a legacy? For a lesser town the answer is yes, but not for the wicked strong. In 500 years no one will be able to tell you how many medals the English won at the 2024 Olympics, but most will be able to tell you who said, “the English are coming.”
Bring on the competition. America has made a choice and it is Beantown. If the Games go your way Boston, I will find myself there. If so my attention will be on your town and its story as much as it is the games.
Image: Justin Jensen “Dawn on the Back Bay, Creative Commons