Boston 2024 Olympics group honors past Olympians

BOSTON (AP) A group working bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Boston honored dozens of other current and former Massachusetts Olympians and Paralympians at an event Monday night at a sports bar near Fenway Park.

Former figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, who won a bronze medal in 1992 and a silver medal in 1994, and Michael Eruzione, the captain of the 1980 U.S. men’s national ice hockey team that defeated the Soviet Union in the so-called ”Miracle on Ice” game en route to capturing a gold medal, were among those attending.

Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh had been expected make their first joint appearance in support of the effort, but Patrick was unable to attend. His office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In statements issued in advance of the event, both politicians expressed optimism, but stopped short of a tacit endorsement of the Boston proposal, which is being developed by the Boston 2024 Partnership, a privately funded organization.

”I think there’s a great opportunity to develop a successful plan,” Patrick said. ”The fact that the proponents of this adventure are thinking big about the Commonwealth is something I think is good for Massachusetts.”

If anything, Walsh said, the Olympics effort will help promote a better relationship with the state’s homegrown Olympians. ”Boston is known across the world for its sports prowess, and this impressive group of Massachusetts-bred Olympians is a testament to our sporting spirit,” he said.

A group opposed to the Olympics bid criticized Monday’s event organizers for ”throwing parties” rather than engaging in ”real discussion” about the costs of hosting the games.

A Boston Olympics will cost taxpayers $10 billion to 20 billion – ”equivalent to another Big Dig,” said Chris Dempsey, co-chair of ”No Boston Olympics,” referring to the costly re-routing of Interstate 93 through downtown Boston. ”Let’s return our civic conversation back to more important priorities, like closing the achievement gap in education, bringing down the costs of health care, building workforce housing and investing in core transportation infrastructure.”

Boston’s Olympics application is due sometime in November. But there’s no guarantee the U.S. Olympic Committee will pick the city – or any, for that matter – as it weighs whether it wants to compete with other countries for the games. Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco are the other American cities under consideration.

Among the other Massachusetts Olympians in attendance Monday were A.J. Mleczko Griswold, a Harvard University standout who won a gold medal in 1998 and a silver in 2002 as a member of the women’s hockey team; Jimmy Pedro, a judo fighter who won the bronze in 1996 and 2004; and Joseph LeMar, a Paralympian who won the gold in track in Barcelona in 1992.

In February, a state-appointed committee issued a 57-page feasibility report concluding that being an Olympics host city could help cement Massachusetts’ economic future by accelerating long-term infrastructure investments.