“This is a legitimately crazy idea I’m presenting,” Reddy acknowledged. “But someone is going to win this, and Boston has a lot to offer.”
Twenty-one years ago, Larsen and Freyer had a similar vision.
Beginning in 1992, they sought the backing of prominent Boston businesses for a bid to host the 2004 or 2008 Summer Games.
They raised about $3 million for a feasibility study, surveyed the former site of Boston State Hospital in Mattapan as the potential grounds of an Olympic stadium, and earned support from key politicians — including Menino, William F. Weld, the former governor, and former senator John F. Kerry.
“We believed deeply that it was possible,” said Freyer, who represents professional athletes and broadcasters as president of Freyer Management Associates. But in the end, the Boston Organizing Committee’s support base was not broad enough.
Powerful executives at Bank of Boston, John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance, and Hill, Holliday were among the vocal skeptics and opponents. In 1997, the committee decided not to submit a bid to the USOC, concluding that its chances were slim, especially since the United States had just hosted the Summer Olympics a year earlier and was scheduled to hold the Winter Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City.
Larsen said be believes the new committee’s odds are better, partly because Boston’s roads and racial climate have improved.
“But you need a person willing to write a big check, someone who sees it as a personal odyssey, and the only people I can think of are the Kraft family,” he said, referring to the family of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
A Patriots spokesman said he was not aware of any overture from the exploratory committee.
John P. Hamill, the retired president of Fleet Bank of Massachusetts who led an advisory board to the Boston Organizing Committee in the ’90s, agreed there is “a better atmosphere” for a Boston Olympic bid today and said he is happy to pass the torch to Reddy’s group.
“It’s a very exciting project and is certainly worth a hard look,” Hamill said. “The fact that it’s being tried again is laudable.”