On a rare morning last week when I had nothing to do I hastily caught a press conference by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Let’s cut to the chase. “If committing to signing the (host city) agreement is what’s required to move forward, then Boston is no longer pursuing the 2024 Olympics and Paralympic games,” Walsh said.


I said to my TV as I reached for my phone to inform my friends at The Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee what was happening. Did I just hear Marty Walsh say no mas? Was he giving up on the event that he had been all for from the beginning? So much so that he and his buddies at Boston 2024 were ardently trying to convince the rest of us that this was going to be a great thing?

Things had unraveled pretty quickly within the last week for the Boston Olympics, an event that no one except a few high-end politicians, sports team owners and a few local athletes wanted. The death knell started when Boston city councilor Tito Jackson insisted that the council and the general public have a peek at Olympic plan 1.0. Boston 2024 created plan 2.0 because plan 1.0 was so unpopular even though most of the details were not released to the public.

Of course, Boston 2024 balked. Even the mayor didn’t see any use for releasing it. As an already skeptical public led mainly by No Boston 2024 along with other groups became even more so, Jackson along with other city councilors pressed the issue. The USOC probably seeing the writing on the wall went to Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker to try to get him to rubber stamp the Olympics coming to Boston. Baker along with other members of the state house were waiting for a report from an independent group on how the event would affect the state before signing off on anything.

Though he never said it, it’s my opinion that Baker never seemed all that supportive of the Olympics to begin with. Then came the host city agreement which if signed takes the IOC off the hook for any cost overruns in other words the state gets left holding the bag. You don’t have to look and further than Atlanta to see how that turned out.

I give Marty credit: he didn’t blink, and by Monday afternoon the Olympic dream—or nightmare, if you prefer—was gone. Honestly folks, this whole thing was doomed from the beginning. Coming on the heels of the Long Island shelter closing, when the city was still scrambling to house hundreds who had been displaced from there. Then came the snowiest winter on record which effectively shut down the MBTA which proved that it was ill equipped to handle Olympic-sized crowds.

The incessant pounding by the opposition group No Boston 2024 (a special shout out to my friend Cassie Hurd, who attended every meeting and asked pointed questions and worked passionately).

They were able along with other groups to get the public to say “oh, hell no.” No here. Not now.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

Related posts