International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has criticised Boston for not delivering on its promises in the wake of its failed bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, adding the US Olympic Committee (USOC) is “committed” to delivering a replacement candidate.
Following months of heartache, the USOC on Monday confirmed it was on the lookout for a new candidate city for the 2024 summer Games after Boston’s troubled bid was officially dropped due to concerns over levels of public support. Monday’s decision ended a period in which Boston 2024 had sought to address the chief issues of concerns over the possible burden of hosting the summer Games upon the taxpayer, along with question marks over the levels of public backing.
Speaking today (Wednesday), Bach made his first extensive comments on the situation with USOC now having to meet a deadline of September 15, the date set by the IOC for cities to commit to bidding for the 2024 Games, should it enter an alternative bid.
“In a nutshell, what we could see there is that Boston did not deliver on promises they made to the USOC when they were selected,” Bach told reporters. “Therefore we understand the decision by USOC and are looking forward to an American bid with another city.”
Stating that Boston did not appear to have a clear strategy, Bach added: “I gave up trying to follow it. It was pretty confusing. Every day, there was a new project coming from Boston or new people and new ideas. I really gave up following it in detail.”
Los Angeles, which hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics and in January missed out to Boston, along with San Francisco and Washington D.C., is considered the most viable replacement. The IOC is eager to have a strong candidate from the US, which has not hosted the summer Olympics since Atlanta staged the 1996 Games.
Bach said: “We are not concerned at all as for us the situation hasn’t changed. We had a commitment from USOC for an Olympic candidature for 2024. We have this commitment and we are sure that USOC will deliver on it, and that we will have on September 15 a bid from the United States. I have no reason to doubt this commitment by USOC.”
Bach also addressed preparations for next year’s summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, stating he is “very confident” a “great Games” will be delivered, while conceding organisers still have a number of challenges to overcome.
Bach said the deadline for completing the International Broadcast Centre in Rio was “really pressing” but outlined “great progress” in the Olympic Village and other sports facilities. He also said he had been reassured that the extension of the underground metro system to the Olympic Park in Barra, the main transportation project connected to the Games, would be ready in time.
Rio 2016 also still faces major concerns over levels of pollution in Guanabara Bay, the venue for sailing, and the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, the separate rowing venue. Bach said: “We have the issues which we discussed again today. For the cleaning of the bay there were measures that have been presented and are two-fold: those which are starting already and others which will be applied just before and during the Olympic Games to make sure that there is the safety and the health of the athletes.
“On the one hand we see great progress, but on the other there is no time to lose. But given the fact that the organising committee has acknowledged its challenges we are very confident we will have a great Games in one year because acknowledging challenges is the first and most important step to overcoming them.”
In other news, Bach said the IOC has approved an innovative sports programme for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, which will result in record female participation. Joining the Olympic programme for the first time at Buenos Aires 2018 will be, among others, BMX freestyle, kiteboarding and beach handball. “There will be quite a few innovations and a more urban approach,” Bach said. “We will bring sports to the people rather than the people to the sports.”