Abandoned Olympic Games Venues

Many people oppose the organization of the Olympic Games claiming that infrastructure investments end up being a long-term waste. In this article, we present some examples that support this statement.
Abandoned Olympic Games Venues

Last update: 27 January, 2021

Every four years, cities that have the honor of hosting the Olympic Games receive worldwide attention and millions of visitors enjoying this unique spectacle. However, when the lights go out and the curtains close, the reality of these places changes and they often become abandoned Olympic Games venues.

Both the governments of the cities, the host countries and the International Olympic Committee itself make significant investments so that the Olympic stadiums look magnificent during these events.

Howeverthis eventually leads to maintenance costs that often are higher than the place can afford. In addition, beyond the Olympic Games themselves, many times there isn’t a justification to maintain structures that are rarely used.

Four abandoned Olympic Games venues

For the reasons mentioned above, many cities have first-class facilities that have abandoned and deteriorate over time. Next, we’ll mention some that might attract attention:

1. Beijing facilities – 2008

Splendid sites such as the Nido de Pájaros stadium – the main one of this edition of the Games – the beach volleyball court and even the mascots are portraits that perfectly illustrates the situation here. To make matters worse, these Olympics were the most expensive in history.

In China, the Olympic ruins attract a lot of attention from visitors.

These places have been semi-destroyed due to disuse and lack of maintenance. Even vegetation is growing in several of them. In turn, this creates a bitter feeling regarding all the resources invested and wasted in such a short time.

2. The abandonment of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games venues

Again, very little time has passed since Brazil abandoned their stadiums as well. The images are eloquent: discarded seats are seen in a tank of stagnant water and tracks and fields are destroyed.

Abandoned Olympic Games Venues

The city didn’t even save the mythical Maracanã stadium, a symbol of soccer – the most popular sport in Brazil. Their field is broken, the seats broken, and they have even cut off the power supply.

Check out this article: 7 Team Sports in the Olympics

3. The new ruins of Athens

 More than twelve billion dollars was spent on infrastructure for the 2004 Athens Olympics. In addition, as the Greek government decided not to resort to private sponsors – something unusual in events of this caliber – the money was largely from public funding, plus the contributions of the IOC.

It’s also true that a large part of the work was carried out inside the city itself. This allowed for the improvement of highways, new public transportation and other infrastructure suited for this kind of event.

However, when it comes to sports fields, the abandonment situation is remarkable. Something similar has happened with the Hellinikó airport, built a few years before the big event, but today totally obsolete. The city hardly maintained the swimming pools, certain soccer fields, and basketball courts.

Abandoned Olympic Games venues

4. Sarajevo 1984 and Atlanta 1996: emblematic of abandonment

The capital of Bosnia, Herzegovina, hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984. Today, most of the facilities are desolate, a product of the civil war that Sarajevo experienced a relatively short time ago.

Atlanta, on the other hand, is somewhat more peculiar. One year after the Games, the state demolished structures such as the main stadium – Centennial Olympic Stadium – to replace it with the local team’s baseball field, the Atlanta Braves.

Parking spaces were also built, and a monument remained on the side of a highway.

Read this article too: The Winter Olympic Games

Abandoned Olympics Games venues

Finally, it’s worth clarifying that not all Olympic Games venues have just been abandoned. Similarly, this event doesn’t always result in economic losses.

For example, Los Angeles 1984 and Barcelona 1992 are two examples of the good use of existing structures, which resulted in very important cost savings. In addition, many of these places are still in use today.

In short, everything ends up being a business of multiplying costs, expectations that exceed reality and few advantages in the short and long term. That’s why so many people resist the organization of the Olympic Games, beyond being a show that puts a city on top of the world for a couple of weeks.

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