The year 2024 may seem like a long way off and it is, and where anyone will be in a decade is unknown to most. But the Boston 2024 Olympic Committee wants people to open their minds to the possibility of the Summer Games.
"We need to get those high school kids on the couch. And inspire. We need to get the city to inspire the world," 2008 bronze medal rower Dan Walsh said
Ten years out and emotions already run strong for Walsh as he thinks about the possibility of Boston 2024. He and dozens of other Olympians and Paralympians are at the center of a campaign to bring the Summer Games to Boston, even storied local athletes from winters past.
"Oh I think it would be fantastic. The Olympics, to be around that atmosphere is electrifying and inspirational," 1992 bronze and 1994 silver medal figure skater Nancy Kerrigan said.
At a party at Blazing Paddles on Lansdowne Street, which included a walk around the fabled warning track next door, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is careful to keep an eye on the price tag, an immense part of any bid.
"I'm not going to mortgage the future of the city for the Olympics. And I've been working very closely with the 2024 committee to talk about how we pay for it. And I think there's an opportunity here in the city of Boston to put together an Olympics that's a walkable city and a walkable Olympics and the infrastructure can be mostly private infrastructure where the money can come in," Mayor Walsh said.
It's that future that's keeping the committee motivated around a feasibility study earlier this year that confirmed Boston is a viable option given the current sports venues, hotel space and security.
London gold medalist judoka Kayla Harrison, who lives and trains north of Boston, knows better than anyone what it's like being up against the odds. It took her some convincing that Boston should host in 2024.
"I have to be honest, in the beginning, I was kind of a skeptic. I was like, how is this going to work? Boston's a small city, the traffic is going to be awful, how is this going to work? But I got to look at the plans, I got to look at the layout, I got to look at the design, and I was blown away," Harrison said.
Opponents say it will cost taxpayers between $10-20 billion - comparable to another Big Dig.
Chris Dempsey, co-chair of the group No Boston Olympics said in part, "Since when did 'thinking big' mean building a bunch of athletic venues we don't need? Let's return our civic conversation back to more important priorities, like closing the achievement gap in education, bringing down the costs of health care, building workforce housing, and investing in core transportation infrastructure."
Other possibilities are San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, which hosted in 1984.