Boston Olympics a terrible idea

Boston took a step closer to becoming an Olympic city on Thursday ... and that's a big problem. Getty Images

A little civic pride can be excused after the news that Boston was selected Thursday to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Always good to be picked ahead of Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, for anything.

Yay, us.

Got that out of your system? Good. Now root like hell for Boston to ultimately lose out as host to such expected contenders as Berlin; Rome; Paris; Johannesburg, South Africa; Casablanca, Morocco; Melbourne, Australia; or, my personal favorite, Baku in Azerbaijan.

We don't need the taxes, the aggravation, the crowds, the traffic, the overstuffed subways, the movie-facade stadiums -- did I mention the taxes -- to stage the Games.

We bought into The Big Dig. We won't buy into The Big Lie, that in order for Boston to be considered a world-class city, it needs the Olympics. Think about that for a second. The tipping point for Boston greatness is another sporting event? Really?

There are so many visitors to Fenway Park, hundreds of thousands of them, that tours are conducted in English, Spanish and Japanese.

Of the 32,458 runners who started the Boston Marathon last April, 56 U.S. states and territories were represented, along with 79 countries, from Argentina to Zimbabwe.

The Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins all have championship pedigrees and are among the most marketed teams globally, regularly playing in front of sellout crowds. And we're supposed to believe that with a new velodrome and aquatics center, more of the world will come calling?

Alex, I'll take Tourist Attractions for $2,000: Which venue outdrew Disney World, the Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall of China in visitors.

What is Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

News item: Northeastern University's International Student and Scholar Institute has 8,500 international students and scholars from 140 different countries, according to its website. The number of international students attending Boston-area colleges and universities spiked by 47 percent in a recent five-year period, according to the Boston Business Journal. None of them discovered Boston because it played host to beach volleyball and synchronized swimming.

No less than The New York Times this week repeated the bromide that Boston suffers from an inferiority complex, which the Times claims is fueling the city's desire to hold the Olympics. Why is it that New York looks at Boston and sees an inferiority complex, while Memphis, Miami, Kansas City and Indianapolis view us as insufferably arrogant?

The Times referred to Boston being wrapped up in an "existential debate with itself about whether it is a world-class city.'' The only existential debate I hear around here is whether Dunkin' Donuts should have switched its coffee to dark roast.

There is also this: Bostonians are notoriously intemperate when they feel something is being shoved down their throats, which is how so much tea ended up in our harbor. Public opinion polls show that we're divided pretty evenly on whether having the Olympics here is such a good idea, yet the power brokers have pushed through this bid without so much as a single public hearing. The politicians love the idea, and so do the big businesses that stand to reap huge profits.

The rest of us? Our first inclination is to check for our wallets.

The average expenditure for the past four Summer Games was $19 billion, according to Chris Dempsey and Liam Kerr, co-chairmen of the No Boston Olympics committee. Boston's Olympic proponents are claiming it can be done on the cheap -- using existing facilities and private funds and by placing venues near public transportation -- but public monies inevitably factor into the equation and cost overruns are as certain as fireworks on the Esplanade for the Fourth of July.

Then there is the matter of needing a new 60,000-seat stadium for the opening ceremonies and such. Have we lost all vestiges of our Yankee common sense that we would actually green-light a plan to build such a facility, only to tear it down or downscale it after the Olympics?

The mayor asserts that an Olympic bid would help fast-track much-needed improvements to our infrastructure, especially to public transportation. But how backward is that logic, that we need to spend billions on an Olympics in order to get a more dependable ride to work?

There isn't anything associated with the Olympics that doesn't have a price tag. Chicago, which was tapped by the USOC to bid for the 2016 games, ultimately lost out to Rio de Janeiro, but reportedly spent $100 million just on its unsuccessful bid.

For that kind of money, I would have rather seen the Sox re-sign Jon Lester.

So let someplace else in the world stand astride Olympus in 2024. For Bostonians, those couple of weeks would be better spent on the Cape.