TIME Innovation

Boston’s 2024 Olympics Bid Could Have Been Saved

Signatures of support for Boston 2024 cover a banner on the table at a grassroots campaign in Boston on March 14, 2015.
John Tlumacki—The Boston Globe via Getty Images Signatures of support for Boston 2024 cover a banner on the table at a grassroots campaign in Boston on March 14, 2015.

It needed a bold statement of commitment to the city—not the Olympics

Boston’s pursuit of Olympic gold has been dying a slow death over the past seven months.

The final nail in the coffin came Monday, when Mayor Marty Walsh refused to sign a taxpayer guarantee as requested by the Unites States Olympic Committee (USOC), which would have taken effect in the event of cost overruns and revenue shortfalls.

As the city’s chief public official, Walsh was right to hold the line, to protect taxpayers and safeguard the future fiscal health and economic growth of the city and region.

But before the Walsh rebuff, Boston 2024 had other big hurdles to overcome. From the beginning, the bid played as a struggle between Boston’s business elite and commoners – the powerful versus powerless, the haves versus have-nots.

The Boston 2024 Olympic committee read as a who’s who of Boston corporate giants and sports celebrities. Those opposed included a collection of concerned residents, city councilors, local politicians and academics.

Boston 2024 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) saw it necessary to alter and access neighborhoods, institutions and roads to accommodate Olympics venues, athletes and media. Those opposed said not so fast – we live and work here, want to know the true costs and would like to be included in the planning.

And tidbits such as assuring exclusive travel lanes on highways for IOC VIPs, athletes and corporate sponsors, and the high salaries and compensation for Boston 2024 staff and consultants, only added fuel to the haves versus have-nots narrative.

In the end, this narrative and, ultimately, the failed Olympic bid is unfortunate. As executive director of Wheelock College’s Aspire Institute, a social and education innovation center, I’ve seen and studied firsthand the many problems that plague Boston, from crumbling schools to endemic homelessness.

While the Boston 2024 bid raised many questions about the priorities of its backers, it also offered a historic opportunity to catalyze new development and transform the city in key ways. Boston 2024 could have been saved with only a bit more vision and a bold statement of commitment to the city – not the Olympics – by backers.

The wrong priorities

The prevailing narrative stems from the perceived sharp contrast between the priorities of the bidding committee and those of Bostonians.

At the same time as Boston 2024 proposed spending billions to construct new venues, the Boston Public Schools (BPS) announced its own 10-year Educational and Facility Master Plan.

While the former involved building an Olympic stadium, aquatics center, velodrome and an US$800 million deck over Widett Circle, the latter aimed to improve the physical condition of BPS’s 133 aging school facilities, expand early childhood programs, support dual language learners and children with special needs and promote STEM learning and technology-enhanced education.

Boston 2024 revealed slick plans for an Athletes’ Village that would be converted, post-Olympics, to 2,700 dorm beds for the University of Massachusetts’ Boston campus and 8,000 housing units nine years from now.

Yet this wouldn’t address the current housing crisis. Boston leads all of the 25 major US cities in the number of residents living in emergency shelters. Massachusetts also has one of the highest rates of family homelessness of any state in the country.

Further, Transportation for Massachusetts (a local coalition of organizations advocating for new transportation policy and initiatives) and TRIP (a national nonpartisan transportation research group) warned of the state’s huge need to invest in its system of roads, highways, bridges and public transportation in order to support economic growth, ensure safety, protect the environment and enhance residents’ quality of life.

Boston 2024 agreed that transportation enhancements were needed and critical to hosting a successful Olympics. Yet they had no plans to contribute funding to these enhancements.

Could Boston 2024 have been saved?

Whether the critiques of Boston 2024 are fair or not, the casualty of Boston’s derailed bid is the loss of a truly historic opportunity for long-term, large-scale economic and community development.

Plans included development of two new neighborhoods in currently underdeveloped, underinvested areas, as well as the creation of new public spaces and commercial areas. Lost too is the $4 billion in private investment, creation of thousands of jobs and intensified scrutiny of and urgency to improve our outdated transportation infrastructure. I concur with Boston 2024 Chairman Steve Pagliuca that this could have been “the biggest economic development opportunity of our lifetimes.”

What would have saved Boston 2024? What could have countered the anti-bid arguments and sentiments?

One bold move: Boston 2024 and the business leaders behind it should have pledged planning, support and private funding for economic community development in the city, regardless of whether Boston won the bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Such a pledge would have instantly and powerfully communicated the goodwill, commitment and intent of Boston 2024 leaders to all of Boston and Massachusetts. And this pledge could have had important, reasonable caveats.

For example, in the case of a failed bid, the pledge might be downsized to $2 billion in private investment (half of the current goal), a focus on just residential and commercial development projects and the already committed public capital funding.

Tax breaks and other incentives to developers – as proposed in the Olympic plan – would still lure private investors, and the city would still benefit from the projected tax revenue from new residential and commercial areas. Gone would be the billions in projected Olympic revenues. But the important community development would have gone forward.

Would such a pledge have been a long shot? A huge risk for business leaders? Of course, but so was Boston 2024 all along. Perhaps the risk was not having gone this far, in making this “no matter what” pledge.

As Chairman Pagliuca put it: “The riskiest move of all can be watching an opportunity slip away.”

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY Taxes

Why Boston Refused to Host the 2024 Olympics

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Steve Dunwell—Getty Images

“I will not sign a document that puts one penny of taxpayers’ money on the line for Olympics cost overruns,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said.

Boston and the U.S. Olympic Committee jointly announced on Monday the ending of the city’s campaign to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Earlier Monday, Boston mayor Marty Walsh said he would not put taxpayers at risk by signing a contract with the United States Olympic Committee and would drop the city’s bid to host the Summer Games in 2024 if required to sign on Monday.

“I will not sign a document that puts one penny of taxpayers’ money on the line for Olympics cost overruns,” Walsh said at a press conference on Monday.

Olympic organizers set a provision that requires the host city to cover any cost overruns in the lead-up to the Olympics. A $4.6 billion plan was released in late June as part of Boston’s revised bid, in which about half of the originally planned venues were changed or relocated.

Walsh also said he would have “no regrets” about Boston’s Olympic bid being pulled and that he had spoken with Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker about the possibility.

“As we reflected on the timing and the status of our bid in this international competition, we have jointly come to the conclusion that the extensive efforts required in Boston at this stage of the bid process would detract from the U.S.’ ability to compete against strong interest from cities like Rome, Paris, Budapest and Hamburg,” Boston 2024 partnership chairman Steve Pagliuca said in a release. “For this reason, we have jointly decided to withdraw Boston’s bid in order to give the Olympic movement in the United States the best chance to bring the Games back to our country in 2024. In doing so, Boston 2024 Partnership will offer our support and the extensive knowledge we have gained in developing our Bid 2.0 to any American city that may choose to participate in the 2024 bidding process going forward.”

The USOC has expressed interest in working closely with city and state leaders in an effort to help the U.S. secure hosting rights for the first time since the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. New York and Chicago failed in their attempts to secure the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, respectively.

Los Angeles, host of the 1932 and 1984 Games, may be ready to take the place of Boston as the USOC’s candidate city. National Olympic committees have until Sept. 15 to submit their candidate city selection to the International Olympic Committee.

“When Boston was selected in January of this year, we were excited about the possibility of partnering with Boston’s great universities in a bid that would take advantage of existing college facilities and spur the development of much-needed sport, transportation and residential infrastructure for the City of Boston,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a release. “The cornerstone idea behind Boston’s bid was sound. We want to compliment and thank Steve Pagliuca and his team at Boston 2024 for the remarkable work they have done in the last two months to transform a powerful idea into a fiscally responsible reality that would have benefited the City of Boston and America’s athletes for decades to come. Because of the good work of Boston 2024, we know that the Boston Games would have been good for Boston, just like the Olympic Games were good for Lake Placid, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City.

“When we made the decision to bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, one of the guiding principles that we adopted was that we would only submit a bid that we believed could win.”

This article originally appeared on Sports Illustrated.

TIME olympics

Boston Bids Farewell to 2024 Olympics

The Boston attempt was met with poor communication, low public support and an active opposition group

Boston’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics is over.

A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Monday that the U.S. Olympic Committee has severed ties with Boston. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not yet been made public.

The Boston bid soured within days of its beginning in January, beset by poor communication, low public support and an active opposition group.

The USOC board decided via teleconference after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced he would not be pressured into signing the host city contract that puts the city on the hook for any cost overruns.

The deadline to officially nominate a city is Sept. 15. If the USOC wants to stay in the race, Los Angeles would be its likely choice.

TIME

Boston Mayor Threatens to Drop Olympics Bid Over Budget

at UMass Campus Center on March 22, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Paul Marotta—Getty Images Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh hosts a Municipal Strategies for Financial Empowerment, a public forum at UMass Campus Center on March 22, 2015 in Boston.

“I refuse to mortgage the future of the city away"

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh threatened Monday to drop the city’s bid for the 2024 Olympic Games if the U.S. Olympic Committee demands a guarantee that would require Boston taxpayers to cover budgetary shortfalls.

Walsh said that while he believes the Olympics could benefit the city, he vowed not to sign an agreement without knowing there are taxpayer protections in place, Boston.com reports.

“I refuse to mortgage the future of the city away,” Walsh said at a news conference. “I refuse to put Boston on the hook for overruns, and I refuse to commit to signing a guarantee that uses taxpayers’ dollars to pay for the Olympics.”

The host city contract with the U.S. Olympic Committee would require the city to agree to cover any financial shortfalls in building the massive infrastructure around the 2024 games. Massachusetts’ governor, Charlie Baker has also expressed skepticism of a bid that shifts the burden of paying for Olympics infrastructure too heavily on Boston taxpayers.

The USOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

[Boston.com]

TIME brazil

These 5 Facts Explain Brazil’s Crippling Scandals

Brazil Dilma Rousseff
Giuseppe Lami—AP Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff speaks during a joint press conference with Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, at Chigi's Premier Palace in Rome on July 10, 2015.

From a tanking economy to rampant corruption scandals, the 'B' in BRICS is in trouble

There are a series of scandals growing in Brazil, Latin America’s biggest country and one of the world’s most important emerging markets. The fallout could bring down a president who was reelected less than a year ago. Here are the 5 facts that tell the story:

1. Brazil’s Economy

Scandals are most damaging when an economy is slowing down. Brazil had a $2.35 trillion economy in 2014, the seventh-largest in the world. But 2015 has gotten off to a rocky start; foreign investment is down from $39.3 billion in the first five months of 2014 to $25.5 billion this year. Overall investment in the country has fallen for seven straight quarters.

Even worse, Brazil’s currency, the real, has lost 20 percent of its value since January. This by itself isn’t a bad thing—a less valued currency should make its assets cheaper and more attractive to foreign investors. Instead, Brazil’s economy is expected to shrink 1.5 percent this year.

Political scandals, and the uncertainty they create, are helping to scare off investors. The most visible involves Petrobras, the state-controlled oil company. As the scandal has unfolded, Petrobras stock has fallen 60% over the past year, and the company has had to write off $2 billion in bribery-related costs, while grappling with low oil prices.

(World Bank, Economist, Google Finance, CNN Money)

2. Petrobras Investigation

Why is a corruption scandal involving one company causing such shockwaves? Because it implicates the country’s highest political officials. The scandal began in March 2014, when Petrobras’s chief of refining was caught in a money-laundering investigation. In a bid for leniency, he confessed that companies awarded contracts from his division had diverted 3 percent of each contract’s value into political slush funds. Most of the money went to members of the governing Workers’ Party or their coalition allies. Initial estimates value the bribes at nearly $4 billion. Over two dozen executives from Brazil’s largest construction companies have already been arrested, and more than 50 politicians are now under investigation.

(Economist, WSJ)

3. Dilma Rousseff

This scandal could reach to the political mountaintop, because current Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff served as energy minister and chairwoman of Petrobras during the years of alleged corruption. There is still no evidence that Rousseff had knowledge of wrongdoing. But given the number of politicians from her Workers’ Party implicated in the scandal, a growing number of people say she is at least guilty of unpardonable negligence. Political opponents are calling for her impeachment, and the public’s suspicion is reflected in her poll numbers. In June 2012, Rousseff enjoyed a 59 percent favorability rating; in March 2014, around the time the scandal broke, her numbers had fallen to 36 percent. Her favorability rating has now plummeted to just 15 percent, according to Brazilian pollster CNT-MDA. Nearly 63 percent of Brazilians favor impeachment. On March 15, 1 million demonstrators gathered to protest Rousseff and the corruption of her government and the worst is probably yet to come.

(Financial Times, Bloomberg (a), Bloomberg (b), Reuters (a), Reuters (b))

4. Lula

Why? Because her mentor and political patron, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is now being investigated for influence-peddling on behalf of Brazil’s construction giant Oderbrecht. Oderbrecht’s CEO was arrested last month on charges that he paid Petrobras nearly $155 million in bribes. When Lula left office, he held an approval rating of 90 percent, and Rousseff, his chosen successor, rode his coattails to the presidency. Rousseff should be worried; if Lula is indicted, he may blame Rousseff’s government, withdrawing his support for her. If so, Rousseff defenders within the ruling party may finally turn their backs on her.

Lula isn’t the only former president being investigated over Petrobras. Fernando Collor de Mello, Brazil’s president in the early 1990s, had over $1 million is cash and vehicles seized last week while investigators determine his role in Petrobras bribes.

(Wall Street Journal, Guardian, New York Times)

5. CARF and other scandals

Petrobras has dominated international headlines, but it’s not the only corruption scandal threatening the government. The latest involves the Administrative Council of Fiscal Resources (CARF), a division of the finance ministry. It’s alleged that some of its members, tasked with resolving tax disputes filed by corporations, ruled in favor of firms in exchange for 1 to 10 percent of the saved revenue. Over the last 10 years, the government is believed to have lost tax revenue of much as $5.8 billion. That’s nearly 50 percent more than the bribery figures associated with the Petrobras case. But because this case involves mid-level bureaucrats instead of top government officials, it receives far less attention from international media.

By the way, don’t forget Brazil hosts the 2016 Summer Olympics. Brazil has budgeted $8 billion for the Rio de Janeiro games—but Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes has bragged publicly that 57% of the financing will come from private sources instead of taxpayer pockets. Given Brazil’s current political climate, this news will raise eyebrows and new questions.

(Economist, Guardian)

 

TIME Japan

Japan Cancels Plan to Build Costly ‘Bike Helmet’ Stadium for Olympics

Country will seek a more affordable design for new facility

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has canceled plans to build a large new stadium shaped like a bike helmet for the 2020 Olympics. The new Tokyo stadium, designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, had been criticized for its high construction cost and a design that some said clashed with traditional Japanese aesthetics.

“I have made a decision to take the plan back to square one and reconsider,” Abe told reporters Friday. He said he would seek out a new design with a lower construction cost. The bike helmet stadium had been projected to cost more than $2 billion.

The new stadium was supposed to be completed in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, as well as the 2020 Olympics. The project now won’t be ready for the rugby event, but Abe said he was sure the facility would be completed in time for the Olympics.

[CNN]

TIME ESPY Awards

Read the Full Text of Caitlyn Jenner’s Inspirational Speech at the ESPY Awards

"It’s not just about me, it’s about all of us accepting one another"

Caitlyn Jenner stood before a standing ovation at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles on Wednesday night to receive the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. This was her speech in full.

“Thank you so much. It is so wonderful to be here tonight. Now the last few months have been a whirlwind of so many different experiences and emotions. But to tell you the truth, it seems like every time I turn around in life, I’m putting myself in these high-pressured situations. Competing in the Games, raising a family. But I’ve never felt more pressured than I ever have in my life, than over the last couple of months. Picking out this outfit — O.K., girls, I get it! [Laughter.] You’ve got to get the shoes, the hair, the makeup, the whole process — it was exhausting. And next, the fashion police — please be kind on me, I’m new at this.

“Anyway, I just want to say a quick shout out to our soccer team [applause]. Ladies, you clean up very well.

“But the real truth is, before a few months ago I had never met anybody else who was trans, who was like me. I had never met a trans person, never. Now, as you just saw, I dealt with my situation on my own in private and that turned this journey into an already incredible education.

“It’s been eye-opening, inspiring, but also frightening. All across this country, right now, all across the world, at this very moment, there are young people coming to terms with being transgender. They’re learning that they are different and they are trying to figure out how to handle that, on top of every other problem that a teenager has.

“They’re getting bullied, they’re getting beaten up, they’re getting murdered and they’re committing suicide. The numbers that you just heard before are staggering, but they are the reality of what it is like to be trans today.

“Just last month, the body of 17-year-old Mercedes Williamson, a transgender young woman of color, was found in a field in Mississippi stabbed to death. I also want to tell you about Sam Taub, a 15-year-old transgender young man from Bloomfield, Michigan. In early April, Sam took his own life. Now, Sam’s story haunts me in particular because his death came just a few days before ABC aired my interview with Diane Sawyer. Every time something like this happens, people wonder, ‘Could it have been different, if spotlighting this issue with more attention could have changed the way things happen?’ We’ll never know.

“If there is one thing I do know about my life, it is the power of the spotlight. Sometimes it gets overwhelming, but with attention comes responsibility. As a group, as athletes, how you conduct your lives, what you say, what you do, is absorbed and observed by millions of people, especially young people. I know I’m clear with my responsibility going forward, to tell my story the right way — for me, to keep learning, to do whatever I can to reshape the landscape of how trans issues are viewed, how trans people are treated. And then more broadly to promote a very simple idea: accepting people for who they are. Accepting people’s differences.

“My plea to you tonight is to join me in making this one of your issues as well. How do we start? We start with education. I was fortunate enough to meet Arthur Ashe a few times and I know how important education was to him. Learn as much as you can about another person to understand them better.

“I know the people in this room have respect for hard work, for training, for going through something difficult to achieve the outcome that you desire. I trained hard, I competed hard, and for that, people respected me.

“But this transition has been harder on me than anything I could imagine. And that’s the case for so many others besides me. For that reason alone, trans people deserve something vital. They deserve your respect. And from that respect comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society and a better world for all of us.

“There have been so many who have traveled this road before me. From, in sports, Renée Richards to Chaz Bono, to Laverne Cox, and many others. Janet Mock is here tonight. And I want to thank them all publicly, as well as the ESPYs, and the late Arthur Ashe, for giving me this platform to start the next phase of my journey. I also want to acknowledge all the young trans athletes who are out there — given the chance to play sports as who they really are.

“And now, as of this week, it appears that trans people will soon be serving in the military. That’s a great idea. We have come a long way. But we have a lot of work to do.

“I’d like to thank, personally, my buddy Diane Sawyer. You know, you can only tell your story the first time once, and Diane you did it so authentically and so gracefully. And me and the community are so thankful for that. And I thank you so much Diane. I’m so proud to have you as a friend.

“Here comes the tough part. I’d like to thank my family. The biggest fear in Caitlyn Jenner coming out was I never wanted to hurt anyone else, most of all my family and my kids. I always wanted my children to be so proud of their dad because of what he was able to accomplish in his life. You guys have given so much back to me, you’ve given me so much support. I’m so, so grateful to have all of you in my life. Thank you.

“And certainly last, but not least, my mother. My mom who, just a little over a week ago, had to have surgery and I didn’t think she was going to make it, but she is here with me tonight to share this night. Now, you know I always thought that I got my courage and my determination from my dad, who landed on Omaha Beach and fought all the way through World War II. But you know what I’m realizing now, Mom, I think I got all those qualities from you. I love you very much. I’m so glad you’re here to share this with me.

“You know, it is an honor to have the word courage associated with my life. But tonight another word comes to mind, and that is fortunate. I owe a lot to sports. It has shown me the world, it has given me an identity. If someone wanted to bully me, well, you know what? I was the MVP of the football team. That just wasn’t going to be a problem. And the same thing goes tonight. If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is, I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with being true to who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it.

“So for the people out there wondering what this is all about — whether it’s about courage or controversy or publicity — well, I’ll tell you what it’s all about. It’s about what happens from here. It’s not just about one person, it’s about thousands of people. It’s not just about me, it’s about all of us accepting one another. We are all different. That’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing. And while it may not be easy to get past the things you always don’t understand, I want to prove that it is absolutely possible if we only do it together.

“Thanks you so much for this platform. Thank you so much for this honor bestowed on myself and my family.”

TIME ESPYs

Caitlyn Jenner at the ESPY Awards: ‘It’s About What Happens From Here’

It was her first major public appearance since coming out as transgender earlier this year

In her first major public appearance since coming out as transgender earlier this year, Caitlyn Jenner stood before a standing ovation at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles on Wednesday night to receive the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.

“I’ve never felt more pressure than I have in the last few months. As you just saw, I dealt with my situation in private—and that turned this journey into an incredible education,” she said. “This transition has been harder on me than anything I could ever imagine, and that’s the case for so many like me.”

The Arthur Ashe Award goes to individuals whose bravery “transcends sports,” a distinction previously bestowed upon Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, and Nelson Mandela. Abby Wambach, the American Olympic soccer player, introduced the presentation, which began with a video documenting a four-decade career marked by public triumph and private struggle.

It has been a long and winding road for Jenner, whom the American public knew for decades as Bruce, the Olympic superstar who won gold and broke world records at the 1976 games in Montreal. Amid the geopolitical insecurities of the Cold War, America found in its athletes — primarily its male athletes — a bulwark to the national psyche, and Jenner, as Buzz Bissinger wrote in Vanity Fair‘s July cover story, was “a symbol of masculinity as interwoven into American culture as the Marlboro Man.” It was exactly two hundred years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and Jenner, Bissinger wrote, “was America.” Jenner made it onto the Wheaties box, that distinctly American totem of athletic triumph. Jenner married a beauty queen, and had two kids with her — adding to the two Jenner had with first wife Chrystie Crownover; Jenner would have two more with Kris Kardashian.

And Jenner had a secret. The secret was that Bruce Jenner wasn’t Bruce Jenner, or at least not the Bruce Jenner known to the adoring masses. Bruce Jenner was a woman, a truth disclosed only to a trusted few until Jenner’s now-seminal 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer three months ago. To those who’d watched Jenner astound the world in Montreal, the athlete was still the Olympic hero; to that generation’s children, Jenner was still Bruce, the quirky paternal figure on Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

“I’ve been thinking about this day forever,” she said in April to Sawyer and the 20 million people watching at home. “And what I should do with my life, how do I tell my story, how I tell people what I’ve been through. And that day is today. I need the tissues. It’s gonna be kinda tough, but today is the day. Be honest with myself.”

Onstage Wednesday night, she thanked her “buddy” Diane Sawyer, and also her children and her mother, her voice breaking with emotion.

“I always wanted my children to be so proud of their dad — for what he’d accomplished in his life.” “You guys have given me so much support, and I’m so, so grateful to have all of you in my life.”

A month after the 20/20 special, ESPN announced that it would give Jenner the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPY Awards over the summer. The decision was controversial. A number of obstinate sports fans took to social media to say that Jenner wasn’t brave, or at least not brave enough to earn sports’ highest accolade for bravery, and that it should have gone to, say, a soldier who’d lost his legs in Iraq.

In the midst of the outcry, though, Jenner stood strong — a resolve she carried to the stage on Wednesday night. She used the speech as a rallying cry for the fair treatment of transgender youth.

“If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is I can take it,” she said. “But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with the truth of who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it.”

“For the people out there wondering what this is all about — whether it’s about courage or controversy or publicity — it’s about what happens from here,” she continued. “It’s not about just one person… it’s not just about me, it’s about all of us, accepting one another. We’re all different. That’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing.”

TIME olympics

Catching Up With the Stray Dogs of Sochi

Many of the stray dogs adopted by the Olympians are now settled in their new homes in the U.S.

Some athletes took home more than just medals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Some took home new best friends.

Sports Illustrated visited the homes of athletes who rescued stray dogs to see how the pooches were settling in.

Watch above, and read more at SI.com

MONEY Sports

This Is Probably Why Boston Doesn’t Want to Host the Olympics

sb10064484a-001
Travelpix Ltd—Getty Images Boston's Faneuil hall, cafes and Quincy market.

Half of Massachusetts doesn't want to host.

In early 2015, not long after Boston was selected as the U.S. Olympic Committee’s bid to potentially host the 2024 summer games, a poll indicated that locals were kind of meh about the prospect. In a survey by Boston NPR station WBUR, nearly half (48%) of Bostonians said they were “excited” about the possibility that their city could host the Olympics. Still, 43% said they were not excited.

When the issue was phrased slightly differently, 50% of Boston residents surveyed said they “support” the city hosting the Olympics, while 33% said they “oppose” them.

So while the locals may not be quite as excited as the Olympic Committee might have hoped, at least the people want to host, right? Maybe not. In the latest survey from WBUR—this one statewide rather than being limited to the Boston area—only 39% are in favor of the city playing host to the games. Slightly less than half (49%) of Massachusetts residents are opposed.

The survey didn’t explore the reasons why people are pro- or anti-Olympics. But it’s a safe bet that money is a big factor. Olympic host cities routinely wind up spending far more than they originally budget to prepare for the games. For instance, organizers of the London 2012 summer games estimated that the city would drop $4 billion in order to host, and in the end the city’s bill was in the neighborhood of $15 to $20 billion. Critics also say the economic upside of being host, through increased tourism and such, is often overstated.

Research from No Boston Olympics, the opposition group with a self-explanatory name, indicates that Boston organizers have already estimated that the city would spend $14.3 billion to host. That’s before any cost overruns. And there are always overruns, typically around 200% or so.

No wonder the folks up in Massachusetts aren’t welcoming the Olympics with open arms.

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