With Boston officials threatening to drop their bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, the door has opened for the U.S. Olympic Committee to name a last-minute replacement.
Which means Los Angeles could be back in business.
It was only a few months ago that a bid proposal spearheaded by Mayor Eric Garcetti finished a close second in a four-city competition to become the sole American representative for 2024.
In the time since then, as Boston’s bid has struggled with low public support, officials from the USOC and Los Angeles have repeatedly denied having any official contact. But it has been no secret that Los Angeles would be ready and willing to mount a bid on short notice.
That readiness could be put to the test now that Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has vowed not to mortgage his city’s future for a shot at the 2024 Games.
In a hastily called news conference on Monday, Walsh said the USOC is pushing for him to sign a host city contract that includes financial guarantees. Such paperwork is standard procedure for bid cities, but Walsh said he will not sign until he knows more about the financial picture of the proposed Games.
“I cannot commit to putting the taxpayers at risk,’’ he said, adding that if the contract is required by the USOC, then “Boston is no longer pursuing to host the 2024 Summer Games.”
The USOC board of directors was scheduled to review the situation on Monday morning and discuss future options. Neither the committee nor Garcetti’s office could be reached for comment.
Two other cities involved in last winter’s domestic bid competition – San Francisco and Washington, D.C. – could also seek to get back in the running.
Potential hosts have until mid-September to submit an official application to the International Olympic Committee. Rome, Paris and Hamburg, Germany, have announced their intentions to bid.
The process will stretch over two years of preparations and meetings before IOC membership votes on the matter in the summer of 2017.
In Boston, Walsh said he will not yield to pressure from the USOC to put taxpayers on the hook to guarantee the 2024 Olympics Games.
“I refuse to mortgage the future of the city away,’’ he said. “This is a commitment that I can’t make without ensuring the city and its residents will be protected.’’
Walsh said he will not have any regrets if the city does not host the Olympics because, in part, it has spurred a conversation and led to the creation of plans to redevelop Widett Circle and expand housing options in Dorchester’s Columbia Point neighborhood.
He said his office needs more time to study the Boston 2024 bid to ensure that taxpayers are protected.
Los Angeles’ proposal stressed economic efficiency, with events held throughout the city, many at existing venues such as Staples Center and the renovated Pauley Pavilion.
The bid would also include a revamped the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. An NFL stadium could come into the mix by 2024.