BOSTON -- An Olympics medal ceremony by the Boston Harbor with the U.S.S. Constitution in the background still could become a reality.
So too could preliminary games at the Tsongas Center or LeLacheur Park.
The United States Olympic Committee, known as the USOC, has notified supporters of bringing the 2024 summer Olympics and Paralympics to Boston that the city is on a short list of contenders for the USOC's nomination.
The other remaining contenders are Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.
"I think it's great and It's very exciting," said state Sen. Eileen Donoghue, a Lowell Democrat who filed the legislation to create a commission to study the feasibility of bringing the Olympics to Boston. "This is something that has not been studied lightly, but something we have looked at long and hard.
"Now that Boston is on the short list, it is time to have a community and statewide discussion about whether the Olympics can serve as a catalyst to take Boston and the Commonwealth in the direction they need to take in the coming years," Donoghue added.
Dallas and San Diego are not moving forward to the next round.
The USOC is expected to make a decision on whether it will select to nominate a city at the international level in the coming months, and if so, which city's bid for 2024 it would support.
"We're extremely pleased with the level of interest U.S. cities have shown in hosting the Games," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement.
Donoghue and Dan O'Connell, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, met with The Sun's editorial board earlier this week to discuss the effort to bring the games to Boston.
"To be an Olympic city is meaningful," said O'Connell, one of the leaders of the effort to bring the games to Boston. "Even though Boston is a great place, I think this would be just another feather in the cap. We can pull this off. We have the resources."
Supporters of bringing the Olympics to Boston also point to the potential positive economic-development impact they would have. Tourism is already the third-largest industry in the state, but the Olympics could grow the industry further, supporters say.
"This, based on other cities' experiences, would greatly enhance tourism both before and after the games and maybe skyrocket it beyond the third-largest industry," said Donoghue.
Donoghue said the Olympics could also help the state in its efforts keep millenials in the region, something other states are trying to do.
"This could also be another incentive for young people to say, 'This is pretty cool and this is why I want to settle down,'" Donoghue said.
O'Connell points to Barcelona, a similar city to Boston, as example of the positive impact hosting an Olympics can have on a city. Hosting the summer Games in 1992 prompted Barcelona to open up its industrial waterfront and create six miles of public beach.
In the years since the games, tourism has increased tenfold. The Olympic facilities have also been maintained and the city hosts 50 international sporting events a year, according to O'Connell.
"It was as if it were yesterday," said O'Connell. "It transformed the city. It was a real example of what an Olympics can do, if done right."
The costs associated with hosting Olympics is one topic those working to bring the Olympics to Boston are often asked about.
No public money has been spent to date, according to O'Connell.
Submitting a bid to the USOC has required $10 million in private funds to be raised. Submitting a proposal to the International Olympic Committee would require raising about $75 million.
The bulk of any public costs for an Olympics would be transportation infrastructure spending, said Donoghue.
Earlier this year, the state Legislature approved a $13 million transportation bond bill. Donoghue said the work is needed regardless of whether the Olympics come to Boston, but some of the projects would help make the Olympics possible in the city.
"The role the Olympics could play is they could be an incentive to get the projects done and get them done on time," said Donoghue.
Both Donoghue and O'Connell stressed that the games could have a regional impact and regional feel. Baseball will be part of the 2024 games, creating the possibility of preliminary games in Lowell, along with preliminary basketball contests at the Tsongas Center.
If Boston is selected as the USOC's choice, the next step would be competing for selection by the International Olympic Committee. A decision by the IOC is not expected to be made until 2017.
O'Connell said he and others involved in the Boston Olympics effort have been told that winning the support of a majority of the 115 members of the IOC will take retail politics.
O'Connell said Suffolk Construction CEO John Fish, who is also helping lead the effort to bring the Olympics to Boston, has stated he is willing to travel the world to seek support for Boston's bid by visiting IOC members in their home countries.
An effort is also already underway to determine how many of the IOC members received their college education in Boston.
The large number of colleges and universities in the Boston area also helps boost Boston's bid because of the universities' ability to host temporary athletic facilities, and O'Connell said most of the universities are supporting of having permanent Olympic facilities.
"We educate the world," O'Connell said. "We provide health care to the world. It is a great place to have an Olympic games."
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