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Boston 2024 Downsizes Harvard’s Role in Olympic Bid

New plans have Harvard hosting archery, but not more

Harvard Stadium may host field hockey if Boston is chosen to host the 2024 Olympics.
Harvard Stadium may host field hockey if Boston is chosen to host the 2024 Olympics.
By Jalin P. Cunningham, Crimson Staff Writer

In a major shift, Harvard is now only slated to host Olympic and Paralympic archery if Boston wins its bid to host the 2024 Summer Games.

The change in plans, announced by Boston 2024 bid organizers Wednesday, represents a dramatic change from bid documents submitted to the U.S. Olympic Committee in December. Those plans indicated that Harvard facilities could hold up to 10 events. At the time, organizers added that Boston-based universities, including Harvard, would play a central role in the Olympics if the bid was successful and hinted at potential fundraising partnerships.

Last December, Boston 2024 organizers had proposed Harvard Stadium as a potential venue for Olympic field hockey in bid documents, but those plans have changed. The Stadium would now only host archery if Boston wins the bid to host the 2024 Summer Games.
Last December, Boston 2024 organizers had proposed Harvard Stadium as a potential venue for Olympic field hockey in bid documents, but those plans have changed. The Stadium would now only host archery if Boston wins the bid to host the 2024 Summer Games. By Mark Kelsey

Harvard, however, was not receptive to the overtures. In February, University President Drew G. Faust said Harvard would not share its fundraising resources with the bid, and in recent months University administrators consistently maintained that it had made no firm commitments to the Olympics.

Indeed, Wednesday’s announcement solidifies growing indications that Boston 2024 organizers may have overstated Harvard’s commitment to the effort. Harvard Executive Vice President Katie N. Lapp, initially a member of the partnership’s executive committee, withdrew her affiliation with the bid earlier this year, and University spokesperson Jeff Neal has said that Harvard had not reviewed the plans before their public release.

On Wednesday, though, Neal gave Harvard’s stamp of approval to the new plans, which indicate that archery events would occur in Harvard Stadium, and said Harvard had been involved in tailoring its commitment.

“In recent months, Harvard has discussed potential venues with Boston 2024 officials,” Neal wrote in an email. “We are pleased that these discussions have resulted in the inclusion of the Harvard Stadium in a revised plan in a way that is consistent with our academic and long-term planning needs.”

Most recently, bid organizers said tennis events would be held in Dorchester, not at Harvard as originally suggested.

—Staff writer Jalin P. Cunningham can be reached at jalincunningham@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @JalinCunningham.

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Harvard in the CityCentral AdministrationBostonDrew FaustOlympicsUniversityDepartment of AthleticsMetro NewsMetroUniversity NewsSports Administration

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