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December 16, 2017

The Olympic touch

By Josh Farnsworth

Yes, I know.

The economics of bringing the Olympics to Boston, who was awarded the official American Olympic Committee bid for the 2024 games, is something to consider. The Boston committee to bring the games to Massachusetts will have until 2017 to make its case prior to the global winner being selected.

And then there is the traffic.

Gulp.

Put down the calculator and step away from that vehicle for a second and consider what this might mean for Central Massachusetts.

There is a chance here to shine a spotlight, not just on our country, but also on our sliver of real estate we occupy in the world. Planning an event this grand will come with plenty of headache-inducing moments, but the potential for attention on our neck of the woods will never be greater.

Shortly after the bid was announced, Worcester Mayor Joe Petty mentioned the possibility of holding the rowing events on Lake Quinsigamond.

I believe Central Massachusetts can do even better. With existing infrastructure and a plan to relieve some of the angst of jamming every event inside of Route 128, I propose we do the following to allow Central Massachusetts to assist in the 2024 Games:

• Basketball at the DCU Center in Worcester. Whatever “Dream Team” might look like nine years from now, chances are they will still draw fairly heavy audiences.

• Archery/shooting at the Nimrod Gun Club in Princeton. They have the targets set up already, anyways.

• Wrestling at the new Recreation Department building in Holden.

• Equestrian in Grafton, as lodging at Tufts will prove quite handy.

• Marathon weaving down Route 190, cutting through Sterling and to the finish line at the Old Stone Church in West Boylston? Yes, please.

• Cycling along the classic Longsjo Classic route in Fitchburg. Whether this event can comeback as a solid annual event, who knows? But what a tribute using the course this would pay.

• Field hockey at Doyle Field in Leominster. One could use the football field adjacently as a secondary soccer site as well.

• Fencing at Worcester Fencing Club. Makes sense, right?

• Golf at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton. It was good enough for Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer 50 years ago.

• Tennis at the Paxton Sports Centre.

• Table tennis at South Lancaster Academy reinforces the collegiate spirit and profile of the region.

• Boxing in a giant ring built in the middle of the Auburn Mall would create quite the scene.

• Rowing along the Blackstone River, with a beginning launch in Millbury. Sorry, Mayor Petty. More history and substance on this body of water.

• Closing ceremonies? I suggest Rutland put on their fireworks display.

The big city can have the Olympic Stadium and plenty of the festivities for opening the 2024 celebration. Heck, use the city to showcase track and field and the shoreline for beach volleyball, as well as some other great events.

So, take a break, Boston. Central Massachusetts has you covered on many of the sports.

I can feel the heat from the torch right now.

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The Olympic touch