Setting our sights on 2024

Plenty of time to aspire to greatness

THE YOUNGEST COMPETITOR in the Boston 2024 Olympics is 6 years old today.

She is just starting to be singled out as exceptional, in a gym or in a pool, in some corner of the world. Her coaches will recognize her potential today. “You have a gift,” they’ll say.

Her parents will support her, waking at the crack of dawn to drive her to practice, encouraging her when times get tough and her confidence is shaken, and standing behind her with pride as she steps onto first-place podiums.

Over the next nine years she will train. She will be coached by experts, the best in the business, tasked with readying her for her moment in the international spotlight. Immeasurable hours will be spent on building endurance, perfecting technique, and improving agility until, on the day she needs it most, muscle memory takes over and she performs like a well-oiled machine.

She will suffer through physical pain and exhaustion, mental fatigue and self-doubt. She will more than once think about giving up. She will cry.

But her drive to be great, her belief in herself, will keep her going, and in August of 2024 her country will put her forward to compete against the other greats of the world.

She will put a small town on the map. Her neighbors and her countrymen will turn on their TVs to marvel at the accomplishments of the girl from down the road, to cheer her to victory. Their hearts will swell with pride when she steps onto the podium and an anthem, their anthem, is played.

The world will know her name.

The 2024 Olympics are nine years away, and there is plenty of time to train.

Boston is an exceptional city. She has many gifts and multitudes of unrealized potential. And if she puts in the work, convenes the best and brightest to guide her, channels her strengths, and believes in herself, there is no doubt she will be ready for the international spotlight.

This isn’t to say there won’t be bumps in the road or moments of self-doubt. But these bumps should not stand in the way of Boston’s drive to be great.

Meet the Author
The 2024 Olympics will put a small town on the map.

The world will know her name.

Ryan Olander Ferguson grew up in Andover and lives in Washington, DC, where he served as director of former governor Deval Patrick’s federal relations office.