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Atlanta a ‘second-rate’ city, former executive says

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Boston is in the running for the 2024 Olympics, but could the city pull off the games?

Absolutely, according to David D’Alessandro. After all, Atlanta successfully held the games 18 years ago, and it’s a “second-rate city,” the former chief executive of John Hancock told a Boston newspaper.

“Is it technically feasible? Of course it is,” The Boston Globe quoted D’Alessandro as saying. “If Atlanta can do it, Boston can do it, please. Atlanta is a second-rate city at best. And they pulled it off in 1996.”

Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington are also potential U.S. cities in the mix for the games. International cities vying for consideration include Kiev, Ukraine; Doha, Qatar; St. Petersburg, Russia; Paris; and Rome.

Bidding for the games begins next year. The winning bid is to be announced in 2017.

Atlanta’s games are often criticized for their overly commercial feel. However, supporters of the games are quick to point out the games actually turned a profit, and the games’ lasting impact can still be felt today.

The city’s subway system was extended, new sporting venues were built and a new downtown centerpiece was completed for the games, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the first modern Olympics The 1996 games are often credited with turning Atlanta into the major international city that it is today.

The largest sports venue built for the games, Olympic Stadium, lives on, albeit it in an altered state. Today, the stadium is known as Turner Field and is home of Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves, though the team is slated to leave the stadium for a new home in Cobb County following the 2016 season.