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Mayor Vince Gray had a muted response to the prospect of D.C. hosting the Summer Olympics in 2024, striking a pragmatic tone following an unrelated press conference Tuesday. “It will be weighed with what’s best for the city,” Gray told reporters. “We have only finite resources to go around.”
Gray, who so far has played no role in the latest effort to bring the Olympics to the District, said he hasn’t had any formal conversations about a bid and doesn’t yet have a position on whether D.C. should host the games. But he does think the city is capable of hosing the Olympics, it’s just a matter of “if we think it’s the best thing to handle at this point.”
In a statement this afternoon, Gray spokesman Pedro Ribeiro wrote, “The mayor is a huge sports fan and a huge fan of the Olympics, and thinks this is an exciting idea and one worth exploring. His main priority would be to ensure that any such effort would be in the best interest of District residents and taxpayers.”
The District last vied for the Olympics hosting gig a decade ago.
The nonprofit behind the current effort is called DC 2024, and it has at least one prominent D.C.-area supporter: Washington Pigskins owner Dan Snyder, who said in a statement, “We look forward to assisting the Washington Olympic Committee in presenting the nation’s capital and fabulous surrounding region to the Olympic sporting world. We are fortunate to have most of the venues needed in an internationally recognized city that is accustomed to staging high-profile events.”
Most venues? Whatever could Snyder mean? Hosting the Olympics would require the construction of additional sports facilities in D.C., which would make RFK Stadium an attractive candidate for bulldozing. Which could, in turn, mean there’s a new stadium with an NFL-ready seating capacity sitting around in the District after the Games end. DC 2024’s Bob Sweeney told the Washington Business Journal that “”it would be naive not to think that [RFK] would be part of the dialogue.” The Pigskins’ lease of its current home in Landover, Md., ends in 2026.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery