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Giorgio: Worcester & the 2024 Olympics

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Paul Giorgio

It was great that Boston won the right to be America’s choice for the 2024 Summer Olympics. We will face some tough competition from Rome and South Africa. But a Summer Olympics hasn't’t  been held in the United States since the Atlanta Olympics. It may be America’s turn.

No sooner had Mayor Joe Petty suggested that Worcester may want to try to get  a piece of the Olympic action, if Boston is chosen, then the  proverbial nay sayers in Worcester started squawking like so many Harpies.

What is it about the local folk?  Why are they so negative about the place they live?  The outside world sees Worcester as a good place, why don’t some of our fellow citizens do the same.  Sure we are the second city of New England, but we are not the tenth. Worcester is a great place.

People outside of Worcester are touting the city and Lake Quinsigamond as the perfect venue for the rowing events. The Charles River is to narrow and is subject to tides just like the Merrimack River in Lowell, which the Boston Committee recommended in their proposal.

Lake Quinsigamond 4th best rowing venue in the world.

Lake Quinsigamond makes perfect sense. First of all it is the 4th best body of water in the world for rowing. It is also wider than the Charles.

City Lab.com, the Atlantics website dealing with urban issues, actually said that Worcester was the big winner in Boston’s bid and we didn’t have to do a thing.

Sure there will be problems; sure the Olympics don’t make money. In fact they may cost money. But let’s face it, if Boston is chosen by the IOC then any costs will be borne by the taxpayers of Massachusetts not just Boston. That’s how things go. So if we are going to pay-let’s play.

The benefits of being an Olympic Venue.

What will Worcester get from hosting the Olympics on Lake Quinsigamond?  We will get traffic and congestion and a disruption to our quiet little life styles.  Yah, they will be an inconvenience.  But there are benefits.

  • Benefit number 1- We get bragging rights that the Olympics were held in our city.
  • Benefit number 2- We may get economic spinoff. People will be staying in hotels out here because they are cheaper and Boston doesn’t have enough rooms. They will also stay in Providence and in Framingham and everywhere in between. If they stay here maybe they will eat here.
  • Benefit number 3-  We will get millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements to Lake Quinsigamond. Worcester has a plan to create a promenade along Lake Avenue and Lake Quinsig, roughly a mile and a half long park.  Let’s have the State pay for it instead of the taxpayers of Worcester. The improvements will benefit generations to come.
  • Benefit number 4-  Those improvements can be used to attract other rowing events on the Lake.  Events such as the US Nationals, The Masters and maybe even the Olympic trials.
  • Benefit number 5-  Improved train service to Boston.  The state has been struggling to upgrade train service to Boston from Worcester.  When the Games were held in Atlanta, the Feds gave Atlanta about $5 Billion to improve the MART, Atlanta’s Train system.  Improved infrastructure means better service, more people living here that work in Boston.
  • Benefit number 6-  People will discover the city.  WE have been working hard to change the image of the city.  We are no longer and old mill city.  Those jobs are long gone.  Today Worcester is a College town, a Medical Mecca and a Bio-tech hot spot.  The Olympics will help us get that message out.

As I said there are downsides to all of this and it is a long shot.  But I was taught that the long shots payoff better. Let’s go for it and maybe we will get a piece of Olympic Glory.


Related Slideshow: Central MA Olympic Activities

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McGreevy’s Boston

Named “America’s First Sports Bar,” McGreevy’s Boston is a great spot if you’re looking for someplace warm to watch the Winter Olympics. McGreevy’s Boston will be showing the games from February 7th until the 23rd on 16 HD TVs so you won’t miss any of the action. There is also a full bar and great food, so you’ll have everything you need to cheer on the USA team. 

McGreevy’s Boston, 911 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, 0221.

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Worcester Common Oval

On Saturdays, Sundays, and Thursday afternoons throughout the month of February, you can enjoy ice skating on the Worcester Common. Admission for public skating is only $2 and children 6 and under skate for free. Ice skates are also available for rent. On the 23rd of February, come to the Commons for a 30-minute instruction on curling and get to know the ins and outs of this Olympic sport. Register online!

Worcester Common Oval, 455 Main Street, Worcester, MA, 01608.

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Natural Science Center

If you’re looking for something different to do with your kids, the South Shore Natural Science Center’s Animalympics may be what you are looking for. From February 19th to the 21st come down to the natural science center with your children (ages 7-11) to experience a Winter Olympics in the animal kingdom. Enjoy looking at different types of animal “athletes” and learning about different species to determine which animals deserve Olympic gold. 

South Shore Natural Science Center, 48 Jacob Lane, Norwell, MA, 02061.

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Worcester Sharks

If ice hockey is your passion but you don’t want to spend your month’s paycheck on an NHL game or an airline ticket to Sochi, feel free to let out your inner hockey fan at a Worcester Sharks game. Playing until April, there are plenty of opportunities to catch a home game and cheer on your team from the DCU Center in Worcester. What’s even better is that tickets are affordable. So take a break from cheering on the USA Olympic team and be right in the middle of the action while you cheer on a local team to victory.

DCU Center, 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608.

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Weston Ski Track

Have you ever dreamed of being a cross-country skier? Well, you have to start somewhere. The Weston Ski track offers lessons for individuals of all skill levels for adults and children. The best part, a children’s lesson starts at $20 and an adult lesson at $33. Book your lesson online and start racing down those slopes. 

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Disney on Ice

Okay, so when you think Olympics you usually don’t think Disney on Ice. Many of the skaters featured in these Disney productions, however, have been former world, Olympic, and national figure skating competitors. Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate! will be coming to Boston’s TD Garden from February 14th until February 23rd, so take the whole family and experience some of that Disney magic while watching skilled and experienced figure skaters. 

TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, MA, 02114.

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Discovery Museums

On February 7th you don’t have to watch the 2014 Olympic Games opening ceremony from behind a TV screen, you can take part in your own. The Discovery Museum will allow children to make a flag from a real or imaginary country and line up for a parade around the museum. After your own ceremony you’ll have plenty of time to get back on that couch and watch the opening of the 2014 Sochi Games. 

Discovery Museums, 177 Main Street, Acton, MA, 01720.

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Wenham Museum

The Winter Olympic Adventure Exhibit at the Wenham Museum in Massachusetts is a great place for kids to learn all about the tradition of the Olympics while enjoying some fun and games. The exhibit, which runs from January 15th through March 30th, allows children to learn about the different countries competing in the games by looking at maps and flags from around the world. Kids can also demonstrate their creative side by designing their own Olympic mascot and can even feel like they are a part of the Olympics by playing winter sports inside the museum’s gallery. 

Wenham Museum, 132 Main Street, Wenham, MA, 01984.

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Newport Winter Festival

Celebrate the “winter” part of the 2014 Winter Olympics at Newport’s 26th annual winter festival. As New England’s largest winter extravaganza, the Newport festival features over 150 events including music, food, and fun for all ages. The festival runs from February 14th until the 23rd and best of all, the proceeds from the event benefit local charities, nonprofit organizations, local businesses, and community programs. 

Newport Winter Festival, 28 Pelham Street, Newport, RI, 02840.

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Ski Jump Competition

The Harris Hill Ski Jump Competition allows you to see an Olympic-sized ski jumping competition close to home. Come down to Harris Hill the weekend of the 15th and 16th of February to see a great competition with jumpers from the U.S., Europe, and Canada. This event also offers a festive atmosphere with food, music, and even a beer tent. Don’t miss out on these mini-Winter Olympics; purchase your tickets online or at the event. 

 Cedar Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301.


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