The Buzzards Bay Regatta is held on an annual basis ©Buzzards Bay Regatta/Facebook

The historic maritime city of New Bedford will host Olympic sailing events on Buzzards Bay if Boston is successful in its bid for the 2024 Summer Games.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and Boston 2024 chief executive Richard Davey made the announcement in New Bedford, which is 60 miles south of Boston. 

Following collaboration with community groups, elected officials and other key stakeholders, Boston 2024 is currently developing the next phase of its Games concept, which is claimed to reflect significant input from throughout the city and State of Massachusetts. 

All venues must meet a specific set of criteria to host Olympic and Paralympic events, including meeting the technical requirements outlined by each sport’s national governing body and International Federation.

Boston 2024 states that the selection of venues is also influenced by “the potential for the Olympics to create long-term benefits for the communities where events are hosted”.

The quality of Buzzards Bay’s wind resource has long been recognised in the worldwide sailing community, reflected in the fact that the Bay hosts the largest multi-class regatta in the United States on an annual basis.

“The guiding force behind our planning has been engaging with our community partners to unite our futures through the Olympics,” said Davey.

“We are thrilled that New Bedford has agreed to host Olympic sailing in Buzzards Bay, one of the most spectacular and iconic locations for competitive sailing anywhere.”

Boston is currently in competition with Hamburg and Rome, while candidacies from both Paris and Budapest are expected to follow
Boston is currently in competition with Hamburg and Rome, while candidacies from both Paris and Budapest are expected to follow ©Getty Images

Situated in the geographic centre of Buzzards Bay, New Bedford, with its historic Fort Taber and surrounding park grounds, extends well into the Bay.  

The city has a proud maritime history as the global centre of the 19th century whaling industry, and today is the home of the nation’s top commercial fishing fleet,

Hosting Olympic sailing is intended to act as a catalyst for the revitalisation of Fort Taber, which would serve both as a viewing area for spectators and the location for medal ceremonies, a dual purpose rarely experienced in Olympic and Paralympic sailing events.

Mitchell used the occasion to praise the local group of sailing leaders, the New Bedford Olympic Sailing Steering Committee, that he assembled to present the concept to Boston 2024.

“We were convinced that New Bedford could significantly contribute to the strength of the Boston 2024 Olympic bid,” he said

“We made our case, pledged our partnership, and asked 2024 to evaluate our proposal on the merits.

“I can’t say enough about the level of responsiveness and engagement of Boston 2024.

“The more we learned what Boston 2024 sought in a sailing venue and they learned about what the city had to offer, the more this change came to make perfect sense.”

Jack Gierhart, executive director of US Sailing, says Buzzards Bay will set a new standard for Olympic sailing
Jack Gierhart, executive director of US Sailing, says Buzzards Bay will set a new standard for Olympic sailing ©Getty Images

Jack Gierhart, executive director of US Sailing, added: “US Sailing is excited about the selection of New Bedford and Buzzards Bay as the sailing venue for the Boston 2024 Olympic bid.

“These waters provide some of the finest sailing conditions in the world and will deliver fantastic competition.

“The New Bedford venue also offers an incredible opportunity for fan-athlete interaction and spectating that will set a new standard for Olympic sailing.

“The Olympics in New Bedford will be incredible, and equally important, the legacy left behind with improved facilities, increased public awareness and access will be a huge benefit for sailing in the US.”

Paralympic sailing has been dropped from the programme after next year's Games in Rio, although a campaign is underway to work towards its return.

As Boston 2024 shifts its planning from a preliminary “proof of concept”, submitted to the US Olympic Committee in 2014, to a broader Games concept, the organisation plans to announce additional venue hosts over the next several weeks.

Hamburg and Rome have already declared their intentions to bid for the 2024 Games, and candidacies from both Paris and Budapest are expected to follow.

Interested cities have until September 15 to formally put forward their candidacy, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to elect its chosen host at its Session in the Peruvian capital Lima in 2017.

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