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Residents fearing massive cost overruns and gridlocked traffic can finally exhale: The 2024 Summer Olympics won’t be coming to the District.
The U.S. Olympic Committee selected Boston as its pick today for the 2024 games. The International Olympic Committee is expected to choose a host country and city in 2017.
Last year, the U.S. Olympic Committee settled on four finalist cities for its Olympic bid: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and D.C. Los Angeles, which had twice hosted the games before, was considered the likely frontrunner, while the D.C. region was a longshot.
The U.S. Olympic Committee reached a unanimous decision this afternoon. “We’re excited about our plans to submit a bid for the 2024 Games and feel we have an incredibly strong partner in Boston that will work with us to present a compelling bid,” said USOC Chairman Larry Probst in a statement. “We’re grateful to the leaders in each of the four cities for their partnership and interest in hosting the most exciting sports competition on earth.”
Had D.C. received the nod from the U.S. and international bodies, preparations could have transformed portions of the city and the region. In the District, the biggest changes would likely have come to RFK Stadium, the leading contender to be rebuilt into an Olympic stadium, and nearby Hill East, which could have hosted an Olympic Village. Neighbors there complained that they were being left out of a process that would affect them disproportionately.
Despite many concerns about the track record of runaway costs and infrastructure issues in past cities that have hosted the games, Mayor Muriel Bowser has stated her support for hosting the Olympics and helped make D.C.’s pitch. In a Washington City Paper/Kojo Nnamdi Show poll last year, 51 percent of likely voters said they’d like to have the Olympics here, to just 35 percent in opposition.
Reacting to the announcement, Bowser said she hoped to salvage some of the momentum generated by the bid. “All was not lost,” she said in a statement. “We must build on the tremendous regional and federal cooperation embodied in the DC 2024 Olympic bid, in focusing on the big issues facing our region—-transportation, affordable housing, and expanding job opportunities for residents in the District of Columbia.”
This post has been updated to include comment from Probst and Bowser.
Image from dc2024.com