US bid to win 2024 Olympics relies heavily on colleges and universities

Existing structures, venues could cut cost, waste

Boston college campuses may provide three-fourths of sporting venues should the city win its first bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, reports the New York Times.

Chosen last week as America's entry for the future games, Boston's proposed plans heavily rely on area schools' current facilities.

"One of the advantages we had was that we had all these wonderful colleges and universities willing to partner with the 2024 effort," says Doug Rubin, a Boston 2024 spokesman. "It helped strengthen our bid in a considerable way," he says.

Using existing structures would cut down on high costs associated with hosting the games, say promoters, who also hope the event could push alumni to donate to upgrade existing facilities.

"Obviously, there’s a lot of prestige in having an Olympic-quality facility on your property. In terms of athletics, recruitment, fund-raising—it’s all been part of the conversation," says Rubin.

Plans—likely to evolve—currently suggest badminton at Boston University (BU), archery at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and field hockey at Harvard University.

Additionally, the Olympic Village would be built along the Bayside Expo grounds and repurposed later as University of Massachusetts dorms, and existing dorms at BU and Northeastern University would serve as news media housing.

"We've had a pretty robust university group that’s come to the table and said, 'Let's see what works best,'" says Rubin.

Beyond facilities

Some experts argue that Boston's reputation as an educational powerhouse will aid in the 2017 bidding that pits the city against Rome, and possibly Berlin, Hamburg, and Paris. Urban planners and business students from the various schools could come up with ways to solve housing, financing, and transportation issues surrounding the games. 

"No, Boston might not be in the global top 10 in population, wealth, or industry," wrote Andrew Lo, an MIT professor, and Tom Rutledge, an AlphaSimplex Group chief investment strategist, "but it has a strong claim to being the innovation capital of the world in asset management, life sciences and medicine, technology, and other R&D-intensive disciplines" (Seelye, New York Times, 1/9).

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