POSTED: May 18th 2015
NewsUpdate

Will former Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics chief Mitt Romney step up for Boston 2024?

(L to R) Former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge, Mitt Romney as head of Salt Lake 2002, and USA President George W. Bush all brushed aside the fears of 9/11 and walked out on Olympic Ice under a no-fly zone to open the Winter Games © Deseret News
(L to R) Former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge, Mitt Romney as head of Salt Lake 2002, and USA President George W. Bush all brushed aside the fears of 9/11 and walked out on Olympic Ice under a no-fly zone to open the Winter Games © Deseret News

Mitt Romney delivering a commencement speech at Saint Anselm College this weekend © Time video
Mitt Romney delivering a commencement speech at Saint Anselm College this weekend © Time video

MARISSA FLANDERS and LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Recently the Olympic Bid announced the new Boston 2024 Board of Directors with a stellar lineup of personalities including leaders in education, nonprofit, business, law, labor, philanthropy, professional sports and the Olympic and Paralympic movements. One person however, a former Massachusetts Governor with serious Olympic experience who ran the successful Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Games, was notably missing from the list. Mitt Romney.

Romney also knows the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members, the ones who vote, and Boston may be struggling against lukewarm public opinion, however at the end of the day the only people that really matter are the ones that will give you their precious votes and support you to entrust you with staging the Games.

And the IOC knows Mitt Romney. So where is Mr. Romney potentially your best lobbying weapon?

Boston 2024 leader, John Fish, was asked about the situation by SportsFeatures.com during a conference call recently, "Mitt is a good friend of mine and has been advising us for 18 months. In fact we have spoken with him well before we even put our hat in the ring. We can count on him for any advice and guidance, in fact his COO is a gentleman named Fraser Bullock from Salt Lake and we had a very quick exchange with Fraser back and forth over the last few months.

"They have agreed to do whatever they possibly can to assist us and advise us on a going forward basis. So I think Mitt's name not being on the board, should not be a reflection of his lack of interest in what Boston 2024 is engaged in. In fact, quite the contrary," he added. 

Well, wouldn't it be more advantageous for Boston 2024 to use his reputation in the Olympic Movement and his knowledge of the IOC members, putting the bid in a more forward position?

Fish replied, "I think he has got a wonderful reputation domestically and internationally, but we also have other people that are on our board that we also feel the same way about. I think the benefit is there just letting people known that Mitt is very, very loyal to the United States of America and he has acknowledged publicly and in writing that whatever he can do to support the Boston 2024 bid, that he would be there for us. In fact, I think there was a publication a little while ago where Mitt came to the 2024 office and gave a wonderful speech to some of our supporters. 

So are we going to be seeing Mitt at one of the upcoming meetings with the IOC members, on the front line?

Fish said, "I wouldn't rule that out." 

According to the Boston Herald former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney was delivering a commencement speech at Saint Anselm College yesterday and they caught up with him to ask him about his involvement with the Boston 2024 bid.

He has stated that he is ready to offer help to the Boston 2024 bid at any time. Romney was credited with saving the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics however, he had little to say about what the bid needs.

Romney was asked what advice he would have for the Boston 2024 bid. He responded, "I'm sure I'll pass some ideas along. But that's a great group, and I wish them well."

In the past, Romney has served as an unpaid adviser to Boston 2024. Reportedly, the bid has been funded by executives at Bain Capital, which was founded with Romney's help in 1984.

Boston 2024 Chief Operating Officer and Chief Bid Officer, Erin Murphy Rafferty emphasized, "Governor Romney has provided valuable insight and advice to Boston 2024 and we welcome his input as we continue to build our bid to bring the Games to Boston."

One other person is thinking that bringing on a charismatic and internationally known personality would boost the Boston 2024 bid, Richard Pound, a longstanding IOC member who has served two terms on the Executive Board and two terms as Vice-President, spoke to the Boston Herald.

"You need a magnetic leader who can articulate the vision and who can get people around him or her to say, 'Yeah, yeah, we can do this.

"There have got to be some people in Boston that could do that, but they actually have to believe it. There was a time when one of the guys around which you would build one of these things would have been David D'Alessandro, and I don't know whether he's still willing to do that sort of thing. Get Mitt Romney back."

There has been speculation over a shake-up of Boston 2024 leadership with names floating like Celtics co-owner and managing partner of Bain Capital, Steve Paglicua. 

"Professional sports team leaders, they may understand franchise ... but I don't know whether they're the ones that would get out," Pound said to the Boston Herald. "They'd have to concentrate pretty much full time for a couple years."

Pound also noted that Boston could compete with the likes of its so far European competitors, Rome, Paris, Budapest, Hamburg, and others who might join the race.

"If they get the act together ... it will be a very good candidate. Sometimes you don't get it all right at the start. You don't have the right people in place, and the right message to your own electorate."

So will Boston push the envelope to Mitt Romney? 

** MARISSA FLANDERS is a graduate of Saint Leo University with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Business. She has over four years of writing experience and has a real passion for ice hockey following the Pittsburgh Penguins on her blog www.thepenshockeyshow.com.


Keywords · Boston 2024 · IOC · Olympic · Olympic bidding


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