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Boston 2024 Olympics group to honor past Olympians

by Associated Press

BOSTON — Efforts to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Boston will get a boost Monday night as Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh plan to attend an event to honor Massachusetts Olympians and Paralympians.

Former Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who won a bronze medal in 1992 and a silver medal in 1994, is among the more than 30 athletes with Massachusetts ties scheduled to attend. The event, at a sports bar near Fenway Park, will mark the first time Patrick and Walsh have jointly participated in efforts to generate public interest in an Olympics bid.

In statements issued in advance of the event, the politicians expressed optimism, but stopped short of a tacit endorsement of the Boston proposal, which is being developed by the Boston 2024 Partnership, a privately-funded organization that’s also putting together Monday’s gathering.

“I think there’s a great opportunity to develop a successful plan,” Patrick said. “The fact that the proponents of this adventure are thinking big about the Commonwealth is something I think is good for Massachusetts.”

If anything, Walsh said, the Olympics effort will help promote a better relationship with the state’s homegrown Olympians. “Boston is known across the world for its sports prowess and this impressive group of Massachusetts-bred Olympians is a testament to our sporting spirit,” he said.

Boston’s Olympics application is due sometime in November. But there’s no guarantee the U.S. Olympic Committee will pick the city — or any, for that matter — as it weighs whether it wants to compete with other countries for the right to hold the games. Among the other American cities the Olympic Committee is considering are Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

Besides Kerrigan, the other Olympians slated to attend Monday include A.J. Mleczko Griswold, a Harvard University standout who won a gold medal in 1998 and a silver in 2002 as a member of the women’s hockey team; Jimmy Pedro, a judo fighter who won the bronze in 1996 and 2004; and Joseph LeMar, a Paralympian who won the gold in track in Barcelona in 1992.

In February, a state-appointed committee issued a 57-page feasibility report concluding that being an Olympics host city could help cement Massachusetts’ economic future by accelerating long-term infrastructure investments.

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