- Associated Press - Monday, June 22, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - Organizers of Boston’s bid to host the 2024 summer Olympics proposed on Monday their first western Massachusetts venue, the Deerfield River, to host the canoe slalom and become the site of a paddle sports training center that would be the first of its kind in the Northeast.

“The Deerfield River provides a naturally challenging course for the world’s best canoe slalom athletes,” said Boston 2024 Partnership CEO Rich Davey. “We have an opportunity to leave behind a world-class training facility that will attract even more kayakers, rafters and paddlers to the region beyond the Games.”

A site for the training center and the slalom competition wasn’t specified. Boston 2024 cited the river’s steep course through Franklin and Berkshire counties, and its controlled water flows from five hydroelectric dams.

Rick Sullivan, president of Western Massachusetts Economic Development Corporation, has said the region had a good chance to host whitewater and long-distance cycling events, and preliminary basketball and volleyball games.

He said Monday his group is excited by the Deerfield River selection and looks forward to continued collaboration with the bid committee to explore other opportunities.

The U.S. Olympic Committee chose Boston as its nominee in a surprise move in January. The effort has struggled to gain traction locally. The bid organizers say they plan to use resources in Boston and around the state, and are developing venue plans that reflect significant local input.

Last week, they announced that Boston TD Garden would host basketball finals and gymnastics and that suburban Quincy would host beach volleyball.

The International Olympic Committee is to pick a host city in 2017. International competitors include Hamburg, Germany, and Budapest, Hungary, as well as Rome and Paris.

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