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No Olympics for Washington in 2024

The US Olympic Committee is nominating Boston.
Don't dream. It's over. Image via Washington 2024.

Holster your phasers: the 2024 Summer Olympics won’t be coming to Washington after all.

The United States Olympic Committee is nominating Boston, a flinty New England fishing village, as its candidate city, allowing DC residents who shuddered at the projected costs of hosting the Games reason to finally exhale after nearly 18 months of buildup.

The International Olympic Committee will make its final selection in September 2017. Any US city was considered to be a strong contender, as the Summer Olympics have not been hosted in North America since Atlanta in 1996. Besides Boston and Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco were also in the running.

Washington’s bid, which would have encompassed the District and suburbs, was considered a longshot by oddsmakers. Organizers, led by businessman Russ Ramsey and Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, envisioned using the region’s existing sports venues for many events and building an Olympic Village east of the Anacostia River. The centerpiece would have been replacing RFK Stadium with a brand-new Olympic stadium, which could have potentially been converted after the Games for use by Washington’s NFL team.

Local politicians tried to make the the hard sell, too, with Mayor Muriel Bowser joining Ramsey and Leonsis in making DC’s final pitch to the USOC last month. But the Olympics were always a tough sell to the public. Although the organizers said Washington could host the games for less than $5 billion, the actual costs of previous Olympiads have been far above that projection. In recent days, organized opposition to the Washington bid started to emerge.

The USOC’s decision, coming after a long meeting in Denver, was unanimous. “Today’s decision begins the next phase in our 2024 bid campaign, and we couldn’t be more excited about the partnership we’ve established with the leadership team in Boston,” USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun says in a press release.

“Despite today’s outcome, I am proud of how the District and the region presented,” Bowser says. “I also want to congratulate Mayor Marty Walsh and the City of Boston for winning the right to represent our great nation to compete on the world stage for the 2024 Olympic Games. They have my full support, and I will be cheering them on to bring the games to America.”

Boston will now embark on a nearly three-year tease to the IOC. If it’s selected, get ready to watch an Opening Ceremony live from a stadium full of people in Tom Brady jerseys.

And, hey, if the IOC passes over Boston in favor of one of the other cities expected to compete for the 2024 Games—expected to include Rome, Paris, Berlin, and Johnannesburg—there’s always 2028.

Find Benjamin Freed watching the Olympics on TV, or on Twitter at @brfreed.

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.