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The U.S. Olympic Committee and Boston 2024 organizers terminated Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games on Monday following several months of backlash and major changes to the bid that first touted the role local colleges, including Harvard, would play in hosting events.
Boston 2024 Chair Steve Pagliuca said in a joint statement with Boston 2024 that the “extensive efforts required” for the bid would make it difficult for the U.S. to compete against bids from other countries. U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun cited the lack of support from Boston residents in a statement, as well.
The news that Boston would not longer seek to host the Games broke just hours after Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said at a press conference that he would not commit to signing a host city contract stipulating that taxpayers would cover cost overruns.
Since January, the bid has met continued skepticism from Boston residents, including the creation of an entire organization dedicated to criticizing and scrutinizing the bid.
The evolving role of Harvard and other local universities in the bid became a focal point in the Olympic debate as detractors questioned whether organizers had overstated the school’s commitment to the Games. Originally, Harvard figured heavily in the Boston 2024 plans, with Crimson facilities slated to host up to 10 events. More recent documents released from organizers, however, indicated that Harvard would only host archery, a large downsize from the original plans, which heralded Harvard and other universities as central to the bid.
Throughout the short-lived bid process, Harvard also publicly kept its distance from the Olympic plans. Harvard Executive Vice President Katie N. Lapp, initially noted as a member of the Boston 2024 executive committee, dropped her affiliation with the effort. And in February, University President Drew G. Faust said Harvard would not allocate fundraising resources to help the bid.
University spokespeople declined to comment Monday.
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