When Boston 2024 announced its 30-member board of directors last week, the group didn’t lack for star power.
Among the directors are seven Olympians and one Paralympian accounting for 17 medals between them.
“It’s exciting to be a part of the board,” said Angela Ruggiero, a four-time U.S. Olympian in ice hockey who played collegiately for Harvard, one of the local universities that could play a role in hosting the 2024 Games.
|Angela Ruggiero speaks onstage during the Women's Sports Foundation's 35th Annual Salute to Women In Sports awards at Cipriani Wall Street on October 15, 2014 in New York City.
On the Boston 2024 board, she’s joined by fellow Olympian and IOC member Anita DeFrantz (rowing), as well as Paralympian Cheri Blauwet (track and field) and Olympians Larry Bird (basketball), Meb Keflezighi (marathon), Michelle Kwan (figure skating), Whitney Ping (table tennis) and JoJo White (basketball).
Seven members of the USOC board of directors are on the Boston 2024 board, including USOC CEO Scott Blackmun, DeFrantz, Daniel Doctoroff, Ping, USOC chairman Larry Probst, Ruggiero and Kevin White.
The group, which also includes civic and sporting leaders, will meet twice a year to vote on important policy decisions leading up to 2017, when the IOC will vote on the 2024 host city.
“We need to identify what the best bid will look like,” said Ruggiero, who retired after the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. “Obviously we have a good two-and-a-half years before the election in 2017. It’s a really experienced board. There is a tremendous amount of energy and everyone named will contribute towards defining our bid strategy. I think we’re all really excited to get more in-depth in defining what the best bid looks like for Boston and America.”
Part of that strategy includes defining the best bid for the Olympic and Paralympic movements as well as the host city. The USOC named Boston as its 2024 bid city in January, but the bid has faced some local opposition.
Ruggiero praises the city’s efforts in winning the U.S. bid and also said part of the board’s duties is to help formulate a strategy that provides the best environment for not only the Games but also the city.
“Boston did a tremendous job in the initial phase,” Ruggiero said. “Now we need to figure out, what’s right for the city? How does a bid enhance the lives of Bostonians and the residents, but also how does it contribute to America and the Olympic movement?
“It’s America’s bid, taking place in Boston. Those are the bases that we’ll go over the next two years in order to define what that looks like.”
As a member of the IOC, Ruggiero was part of Olympic Agenda 2020 discussions last year, which aimed at forming a strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Games. The discussions sparked a number of reform recommendations, as well as suggestions to make the Olympics more sustainable within the host nations.
There were 40 recommendations in total, all of which were approved unanimously by the IOC. Ruggiero believes that Boston’s bid fit nicely within the recommendations laid out by Agenda 2020.
Part of what could make Boston an attractive bid is the number of facilities already in place through the city and surrounding communities. Along with professional facilities such as Fenway Park, TD Garden and Gillette Stadium, there are several Division I colleges and universities that could easily modify their facilities to host a portion of the Games.
“After spending a year on the IOC side, understanding where they want the movement to go, one of the key messages out of Agenda 2020 was more sustainability,” Ruggiero said. “I love Boston. You can walk across it. It’s sustainable, and if the universities were activated and partnered with in the right way, and the professional sport organizations lend an arm to the bid and get behind it, I think it’s an unbelievable bid.
“I think Boston really fits in nicely with the Olympic Agenda 2020.”
The board held its inaugural meeting last week. It will also be split into several committees, including audit, executive and governance committees.
“Our aligned approach to planning and governance enhances Boston’s bid and unites us in a common goal to make the 2024 Games transformative for Boston, and the Olympic and Paralympic movements,” said Probst, who is also a member of the IOC.