Boston Olympics?

On Sunday night during the broadcast of the Closing Ceremonies from the 2012 Summer Olympics in Boston, a trend started on Twitter asking what an Olympics in Boston might be like.  Adam Gaffin of Universal Hub who started the trend Storified the many humorous responses.  My own contribution was to suggest that Big Papi would carry the torch up the Charles on a speedboat.  Almost instantly after tweeting I knew I should have said Duck Boat instead, and several people rightly corrected me.

It’s not very likely that Boston would ever host the Summer Olympics in reality as the city is too small to welcome so many people at once and constructing all the necessary venues would be cost prohibitive and difficult to justify beyond the games (although it should be noted that Boston has played its part in Olympic history).  I got to thinking though that Boston could quite possibly host the Winter Games which attract fewer athletes and often takes place in cities the size of Boston and smaller.  Existing venues such as the Boston Garden, Matthews Arena, Conte Forum, and Agganis Arena would be perfect for the indoor games on ice while the mountain sports could take place at a ski resort in New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine.  An Olympic Village for the athletes could be appropriated as much-needed student housing.

I searched the web and discovered that somebody else already has the same idea.  This website puts together a good case for Boston to host the Winter Olympics in 2026.  The creators of the website show that Boston and its venues are comparable in size to previous Winter Olympics’ hosts such as Salt Lake City and Torino.  They also point out that having the mountain sports in a location about two hours away has already been done at previous games such as Vancouver.

One thing they suggested that I hadn’t thought of was to hold the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in Fenway Park.  While I like that idea, I think an even better location would be a venue not yet constructed which would be the soccer specific stadium for the New England Revolution.  Long-promised by the Kraft family, one would hope it would be in place well before 2026.  Fenway Park has its history and charm, but it also has a lot of posts and seats with poor sightlines even for baseball.  I’d want everyone in attendance to have a perfect view of the ceremonies and parade of nations.

And what an Opening Ceremonies it would be.  2026 coincides with the 250th anniversary of the independence of the United States.  Boston played a central role in the Revolution and surely would be great at commemorating our history in performance.  With snow and sleds, I see a reenactment of Henry Knox’s Nobile Train of Artillery.

Anyhow, I’m pretty excited by the possibilities of the Olympics in Boston.  If you have your doubts, check out the Boston Winter Olympics 2026 website and read the compelling case.  Then take action to make this dream a reality.

2 thoughts on “Boston Olympics?

  1. An article in today’s Boston Globe discusses the prospects of Boston hosting the Olympics, specifically the Summer Olympics.

    While I would be excited about an event of such magnitude taking place in my home town I’d be uneasy about the financial risks of the summer games in Boston. First the city would have to construct several new venues that would run a chance of being unused once games are over. For example, if Boston constructs a new aquatic center they would want to at least get an agreement with USA Swimming to make Boston their headquarters. Attempting to get permanent tenants or alternate uses for all the new venues post-Olympics would be costly and complicated. Similarly, Boston would need many new hotels for participants and spectators that likely would not be justifiable outside of the games.

    I like the concept of the Olympics bringing people of the world together in peace, and I love big events, but I think any study of Olympics history shows that the host cities rarely find long-time economic benefits. That’s why I think if Boston is going to put the effort into hosting the games they should go with the Winter Olympics. Most of the money spent would be on improvements and temporary enlargement of current venues as well as infrastructure (such as much needed public transit improvements). Boston would benefit symbolically from recognition of hosting of major event and tangibly with improvements to already existing venues and infrastructure.


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