Eric Wilbur's Sports Blog

Dear USOC: Nah, we really don't want the Olympics

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Dear United States Olympic Committee:

Despite what you might have heard, Bostonians really don’t want to host the Olympics. But then again, if you don’t know Boston, why are we having this discussion in the first place?

We love to have pride in our city, and understand its shortcomings.

We love the fact that the rest of the world is not us.

We are difficult people. Just ask Roger Goodell.

But even in “groovy” Colorado, a state made up of, presumably, 42 percent transplanted New Englanders, you can understand the frustration and pause we have in welcoming these disputed Games.

In reality, “we” are Rocky Mountain High, and if “revenge” were an Olympic sport, then Washington, D.C. should have gotten more consideration.

At this point, you’re probably saying to yourselves: Why in the hell did we ever choose Boston? Well, why did you?

Seriously, your first instincts were right — Los Angeles should have gotten the bid.

But if we’re going to be labeled as a population throwing tantrums “like two-year-olds” then maybe that “freak show” should resemble something more than knee-jerk whining. Or perhaps you would rather listen to the agenda-driven supporters who want to paint the city’s views with a broad brush.

Be afraid. We don’t need you. This is how we operate, and when we calm down, it will only be because we will have won.


Super Bowls, World Series, NBA titles and Stanley Cups aside, maybe this will be Boston’s greatest win ever, a victory that sets the city apart from every other submissive entity on the International Olympic Committee’s dirty docket.

Paris, you can have it. This is one “loss” we’re willing to swallow.

The reason it takes Bostonians time to come around on anything is because of our rich sense of history, not to mention the implementation of the modern world in advancing those infrastructures. The Big Dig was such a financial disaster that it sticks like a craw in the mind of every citizen who ever had to figure out just how to navigate the city for more than decade. The only reason we whined and moaned about rebuilding the Boston Garden was because of the ensuing infestation of rats released from the bowels of that jewel that the city had to endure.

It’s true that we can’t imagine our city these days without what the Big Dig wrought, the fact that gives Olympic lackeys the antidote to Boston's concerns. Then again, we hosted the Rolling Stones, NCAA tournaments, and all-star games long before its completion.

Last week, I spoke with Christopher Clarey, global sports columnist for the New York Times. He thinks Boston would be a great Olympic city, but that the mistakes of the Boston 2024 committee were so bungled in the beginning stages, that we’re now at a point where there’s no turning back from convincing the city’s proud citizens to fall in line.

This is our heritage, our insistence not to fall into line with authority is what defines us as a city. How can others not recognize that?

How can our refusal to fall in line make the Boston bid better? How? How? As the Globe’s Shirley Leung puts it, “we save the sharpest knives for outsiders swooping in and trying to tell us what to do with our city.”

Those aren’t knives, Shirley. They’re shields.

This isn’t about the winter from hell, or the MBTA’s continued incompetence. It’s about recognizing history, both from the perspective of our own, stubborn community and that of the public financing reality that past Olympic Games have left on each host city’s doorstep like a flaming paper bag of dog crap. The poll numbers are low because Boston has always known what it's wanted, and nobody should apologize for stubbornness being one of our most forthcoming traits.

Steve Pagliuca, the newly-installed chairman of Boston 2024, wants to get this right? Great. Let’s start by him telling the USOC that we’ll talk to them again in another decade or so.

Sorry, USOC. Los Angeles will be a great spot in 2024 though.

Or, it won’t. As long as it’s not us.

Not now.

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