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City Council reviews 2020 Olympic agenda to plan for 2024

The City Council's Special Committee on the 2024 Olympics met Monday to discuss the International Olympic Committee's agenda for 2020. PHOTO BY DANIEL SCHWEN/ WIKIPEDIA
The City Council’s Special Committee on the 2024 Olympics met Monday to discuss the International Olympic Committee’s agenda for 2020. PHOTO BY DANIEL SCHWEN/ WIKIPEDIA

As part of the planning process for Boston to potentially host the 2024 Summer Olympics, the Boston City Council held a hearing Monday to focus on the agenda for the 2020 International Olympic Committee and how it could relate to the City’s goals.

Chaired by City Council President Bill Linehan, the Council’s Special Committee on the 2024 Olympics also evaluated the city’s current bid as it stands.

Angela Ruggiero, a gold medalist, ice hockey player and member of the IOC’s Athletes’ Commission, spoke on behalf of the IOC, describing what it was like growing up in a blue-collar family and how hockey provided her with both Olympic success and a good education.

“Hockey enabled me to be successful both on and off the ice … [it taught] me sport, [taught] me life skills that I applied to school,” she said. “I believe in the power of sports and how sports can change societies, but also change [a person] at the individual level.”

As an active member of the Boston sports community, Ruggiero said it was important to speak about aspects of the city. When the United States Olympic Committee had the opportunity to select a city to host in 2014, she said, it chose Boston because it exceeded the IOC’s standard.

“I just believe Boston is such a perfect place to hold the games,” she said. “I know there are some [bright] minds here. We can come up with a bid that makes sense to the IOC.”  

The international community associates Boston with education, young people and innovation, and leveraging those assets will add to the success of the planned agenda, Ruggiero said.

“Youth is the focus of the games,” she said after the hearing. “The Olympic Games are obviously an elite sport and few people … 10,500 athletes compete in the summer games. About 3,500 of them win the games, but the impact is, let’s get every young person off the couch … [and] outside.”

While Ruggiero aimed to discuss matters related to the value of sports, committee councilors brought up fiscal concerns. Arthur Natella, a spokesman for Councilor Tito Jackson, said Jackson still isn’t sold on the whole plan for the 2024 games.

“[Jackson] puts it similar as applying to college. We’ve applied for college. We’ve been accepted and now we have to see what the financial aid package looks like,” Natella said after the hearing.  “He needs to see exactly what the concrete plan is for the Olympics and once [he and his staff] review them, [they’ll] be able to make a better decision about how to move forward.”

Natella also said residents in Jackson’s district, which includes Roxbury and parts of Dorchester, Fenway and the South End, are already in favor of the plan, but added that steps need to be taken to ensure that any bid is inclusive of all community members in Boston.

John FitzGerald, director of the Olympic Operations and Special Projects from the Boston Redevelopment Authority, said the meetings are a good way to evaluate issues such as financial planning.

“It’s great that we have this process and the folks from [Boston] 2024 and the IOC are here to talk to us about it. Obviously, we’re all new to the Olympic bidding process … [and] what needs to be done,” he said after the meeting. “The important part is to learn more and ultimately make the decision that’s best for the city of Boston.”

Josh Zakim, a councilor who represents the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Kenmore Square, Mission Hill and West End neighborhoods, said Boston has a good chance of hosting the 2024 games, despite concerns expressed during the hearing.

“With the process we have in place, we’ll ensure that it is the right thing to go forward or not,” Zakim said after the meeting. “As the details of the plan start to roll out, we will study them … [and] make sure that it’s fiscally responsible for the city of Boston.”

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One Comment

  1. Why does Boston City Council only release part of the Stenographic Record of Public Meetings?… without the needed Additional file of acronyms, abbreviations, shortcut tokens, etc