March 31, 2015 / 7:09 PM / 4 years ago

U.S. Olympic Committee says committed to Boston bid for 2024 Games

BOSTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) said on Tuesday it was committed to supporting Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Games, denying a report that it may drop the bid if public support does not improve.

“We believe that Boston can and should lead America’s bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and we are absolutely committed to our partnership with Boston 2024 and their innovative concept for hosting the Games,” USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said in a statement. “Any suggestion that we are considering alternatives is simply not true.”

CNBC posted a Tweet citing Dow Jones, saying the U.S. Olympic Committee may drop Boston’s bid “if public support doesn’t improve.”

Earlier this month, backers of Boston’s bid called for a statewide referendum in 2016 on whether the bid should go forward, adding that they would abandon the attempt without majority support statewide and in Boston.

The proposal, made by John Fish, a construction executive serving as chairman of the Boston 2024 Partnership, came in the wake of a poll that found most residents of the greater Boston area oppose hosting the Summer Games.

Since the USOC in January named Boston as its surprise pick to seek what would be the nation’s first Olympics since the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the idea has faced a groundswell of opposition, with many worried that city taxpayers would have to foot much of the estimated $9.5 billion cost.

Despite dwindling support, bid officials remained confident they can swing public sentiment.

“Boston 2024 and the USOC will conduct polls from time to time during this bid process to ensure we are on track to win a majority support,” said Boston 2024 CEO Rich Davey.

“In fact the IOC requires it. We welcome this initiative and we are confident that all polling over the coming months will reveal a significant increase in public support as we continue to inform and engage the people of Boston and Massachusetts about the long-term and sustainable benefits of the Games.”

Rome and Hamburg, Germany, are also bidding for the 2024 Olympics while Paris, Doha, Istanbul and Baku are seen as possible contenders.

The International Olympic Committee will select the 2024 host city in 2017.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto and Richard Valdmanis in Boston; Editing by Richard Chang

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