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Behind The Mic With Joe Mathieu: Pros And Cons Of Hosting The Olympics

By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
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BOSTON (CBS) – We’re still only in the thinking stage when it comes to vying for the Olympics in 2024. And we suddenly have a lot more to think about after a couple of Olympic experts appeared before a special commission set up to explore this whole idea.

Imagine a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Because we’re hearing two very different versions of what comes with hosting the Olympics.

Now I’m a bad-news-first kind of guy – and we’ve been through some of this before – so let’s start with remarks from a British diplomat who described the wonders of hosting the Olympics in 2012.

Yet when pressed by members of the commission she also confessed that the London Games ran over budget as costs jumped 300-percent above estimates. Makes the economic stimulus argument a bit more difficult.

And that’s the real issue here – return on investment. And whether the Olympics are actually worth the money.

It may be a question for the long term because clearly hosting the games would boost Boston’s image around the world and officials say that would draw more tourism.

This is the good news part.

Because if Boston did host the games it would be left with a badly-needed infrastructure upgrade.

And I’m not just talking roads and bridges.

One idea, offered by Commission chairman and construction mogul John Fish, is to build an Olympic village and later turn it into housing for middle-income families. Or as was done in Russia, build a new skiing facility that could be turned into a major winter resort.

Maybe the devil and the angel are both right.

We’ll get further details on the first of March when the commission releases its feasibility report.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz

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