Ever since the prospect of a Boston Olympics in 2024 become a possibility last month, Boston Public Radio has talked to the mayor, Governor Charlie Baker, economists, reporters, Boston City Councilors- but the perspective we've been missing is someone who's already been through the process.  So, we called up someone who has.

As the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson presided over the city's Olympic Games in 2012. Johnson was in Bostonon Monday to promote business investment in his city and to meet with the team working on bringing the Olympics to the Hub. Listen to the full conversation above, highlights below:

On criticism of the Olympic bid:

(3:14)  I think generally what would happen- is there would be a lot of skepticism, a lot of noises from from media and others saying this will be a disaster, it will cost too much, it will be overruns, what will we get out of it? And then all of a sudden as soon as the thing is really in view-- if you get the nod from the Olympic committee and you deliver the games-- there will be this incredible euphoria and optimism about it. And I think if you plan things right and you think about the regeneration (...) If you get the regeneration right, you can deliver a massive long term legacy and infrastructure boost.

The original estimate for the London games when it was awarded was $4 billion, it ended up being in the $15 billion-$16 billion range. Why should people of Boston and Massachusetts not worry about similar overruns here?

(04:39) What happened was that the initial bid did have to be inflated, but after we got to what was a reasonable price-- and this was about 5 or 6 years out-- we didn't go over that budget, and we stuck with what was 9.3 billion pounds and we brought it in under that. And, actually, the overwhelming bulk of that went in investment to regenerate to the east of London. (...) You've got a whole new city basically growing up in that area around Stratford and the Olympic Park. (...) There's no law that says that these things have to overrun. Once you fix the right price and you get the right contractors, you can hold the cost down."

What percentage of the ultimate price tag for the London Olympic games were publicly funded by the taxpayers of the UK- roughly?

(06:56) "I would say about 80 percent, 90 percent. (...) The lion's share came from the taxpayer, there's no question, but look at the benefits. Most of that money went on long term infrastructure investment, which is going to be used for London for decades, generations to come."

That's a one of the big issues here in Boston. The other thing that differentiates us from London, Madrid, Moscow, or Paris- all of whom bid for the 2012 games- is that the people there really wanted the Olympic games to come. Here, barely 50 percent want it. We're not that enthusiastic in Boston...

(08:14) "All I can go on is my memory of how it was in London-- and I remember lots of people, lots of influential newspaper columnists inveighing against the Olympics it, wagging it off, decrying it. They hated the whole thing. They hated the idea of the crowds, they hated the expense, they hated the disruption. And then when it all started, they loved it. And you know, I don't think you can underestimate the social benefits, too- in the sense of bringing the society together, and galvanizing people, and making them feel good about themselves and about their city and their country.

When you meet with Boston Mayor Walsh would you advise him to zip lineinto the Olympics, as you attempted to do?

(9:00) That was a highly successful maneuver (laughter). I went on the zip wire basically to advertise our live sites, as they're called- where the people turn up and have hog roasts and that sort of thing- and as far as our advertising went it was extremely successful, it was also much more painful than you might think to look at the photos. I was stuck up there for about 15 minutes, I think. So, my advice to Mayor Walsh is: why not?...

I had a security guard with me at that moment. And I was standing up there totally stranded and I look down and I said: "Oy Carl, can't you do something here?" And he very slowly reached into his pocket and took out his mobile phone and took a picture of my hindquarters." 

On whether he has a desires to be Prime Minister of England:

10:20  I am running for Parliament, but I have a big job to complete as mayor, which is why I'm here in Boston. Because we have to capitalize on that Olympic success. We have to keep the investment pumping in and we've got a whole load of stuff that London needs to get into the ground. London is now going through a huge population boom (...) we have a lot of pressure on infrastructure.

Listen to the full conversation with Mayor Boris Johnson above.