Seeking the world stage that would accompany an international sporting event, the mayor of New Bedford announced Wednesday the city wants to hold sailing events for the 2024 summer Olympics, which Boston is seeking to host.
"We are confident that New Bedford will strengthen Boston's bid for the Olympic games," Mayor Jon Mitchell said during a televised press conference.
The games would provide a "significant boost to the city's brand," Mitchell said, and lend the Olympics an urban port "on the doorstep of one of the most reliable sailing environments on the planet" - Buzzards Bay.
"The same winds that helped launch the port's success in whaling prevail today off our shores. We believe that those winds can make New Bedford a singularly hospitable host for Olympic sailing events," Mitchell said.
In July and August a southwest sea breeze regularly blows 14 to 18 knots and the bay is substantially warmer than other New England waters, Mitchell said.
Pitched to the U.S. Olympic Committee as a uniquely compact, walkable summer games centered in Boston and Cambridge, the Olympic bid has received pressure from state officials to widen its scope to encompass other areas around the state.
Buzzards Bay is already Boston 2024's alternative site
A bid has not yet been submitted to the International Olympic Committee, which will decide on a host city in 2017. Mitchell said, "We are going to make our case to Boston 2024" and other Olympic officials.
In a press conference, Mitchell said the city has experience hosting the Buzzard's Bay Regatta, "plenty of housing" and a park that overlooks the bay and surrounds Fort Taber, which he noted was designed by Robert E. Lee in the 1840s when he was an army officer. Lee went on to become the infamous commander of the confederate army in the Civil War.
The present bid for the 2024 Olympics includes this waterfront cluster would include sailing in Boston Harbor, and it lists Buzzards Bay as an alternative site. Photo courtesy of the Boston 2024 committee.