Boston's bid was fiercely debated in tonight's television debate ©Getty Images

Boston 2024 have been accused of "drunken optimism" in elements of their Olympic and Paralympic bid in a fierce and outspoken television debate this evening between bid representatives and opposition figures.

Amid much disagreement few concrete developments emerged, although Boston 2024 did pledge to further illustrate transparency by tomorrow revealing in full its initial bid submitted to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in December before the revamped version was launched last month.

The USOC also once again reiterated their full support.

Some of the outspoken criticisms and strong responses on social media after the debate revived memories of the latter stages of Oslo's bid for the 2022 Winter Games, which was abandoned last year following a lack of Government support amid ferocious public opposition.

Boston 2024 chairman Steve Pagliuca was joined by USOC Board member Daniel Doctoroff, the former Deputy Mayor of New York City who led the city's unsuccessful bid for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, with the pair passionately laying out what they claim are the benefits of a bid.

The debate was supposed act as a catalyst to move the city forward and, due to the new nsurance proposals launched earlier the day they claim will provide unprecedented coverage for local taxpayers, the biggest risk now is not taking advantage of a "once in a lifetime" opportunity, Pagliuca claimed. 

Today's debate was the first opportunity for leaders from both sides of the debate to face-off
Today's debate was the first opportunity for leaders from both sides of the debate to face-off ©Fox

Pagliuca, who replaced John Fish as bid chairman in May, attempted to draw a line between his tenure and that of his predecessor, hailing the differences between the new "Bid 2.0" and the previous one.

He once again claimed support will improve as the public realise these benefits, with officials hoping it will rise to over 50 per cent within the city soon.

This was bluntly dismissed by their opponents Chris Dempsey, co-chair of opposition group No Boston Olympics, and economist, Andrew Zimbalist, author of Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup.

Zimbalist accused bid officials of "drunken optimism" when drawing their proposed budget figures.

Every supposed benefit of the bid was questioned, with cost overruns, traffic problems and misplaced priorities all repeatedly cited.

As a New Yorker, Doctoroff was particularly targeted, with Dempsey claiming how external figures want to dictate a bid of which the burden will fall on the shoulders of the local population.

The official, a wise-old head who was thought best-placed to fight the USOC corner, gave as good as he got, claiming there had never been problems with traffic in six Olympics he had attended and that "people adjust" to any route changes.

After being questioned as to whether USOC would consider dropping the bid in favour of another city if support does not rise soon, he insisted "Boston is our city".

Moderated by the Boston Globe’s Sacha Pfeiffer and Fox 25’s Maria Stephanos at the Fox 25 studio in Dedham, but with no studio audience present, the debate often became bogged down in numbers and detailed statistics.

Given this complexity, it remains to be seen what impact it will have on public opinion.

Some have said that Boston 2024 were more factually accurate than the opposition, others that it was a points-draw.

It has not, however, generated the positive swing that bid officials and USOC so desired.

Bid leaders and other key officials such as USOC chair Larry Probst will next turn their attention to the IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur ©Getty Images
Bid leaders and other key officials such as USOC chair Larry Probst will next turn their attention to the IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur ©Getty Images

With USOC support seemingly unwavering, as with Oslo the support of the authorities is now key ahead of a report next month by consultancy The Brattle Group which could decide whether Massachusetts State Governor Charlie Baker backs or opposes the bid.

Boston is certainly under more scrutiny than any of its rivals, currently consisting of Paris, Rome, Budapest, the respective capitals of France, Italy and Hungary, as well as German second city Hamburg.

Azerbaijani capital Baku could yet join the race while, interestingly, Toronto could also make a late decision to enter following the success of the ongoing Pan American Games, with Canada's largest city possibly hoping to take advantage of Boston's problems to become the leading North American contender. 

Following the application deadline of September 15, a two year bidding-race will officially begin ahead of a final decision, due to be made at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Lima in 2017.

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