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February 20, 2014

Countries spend millions billions to host the Olympic games in the hopes that the few weeks of international attention will bring prestige and future tourism dollars.   

But you might wonder,
"What really happens to the venues
when the Olympics leave town?"

Concrete barriers and wire fencing were installed around
the Turin Olympic Village from the 2006 Torino Olympics
now that the buildings are no longer in use.  An attempt was
made to convert them into apartments but poor workmanship
deemed them unusable.

A ski lodge built for the 1990 games in Sapporo, Japan,
was abandoned shortly after the athletes left town and has
never been reopened.

The Helliniko Olympic Softball Stadium used in the 2004 Athens
games stands abandoned due to the crisis of Greece's economy.
The 2004 Athens Olympic Canoe and Kayak Slalom
Centre was drained, locked up and left to deteriorate.

Within a few years of hosting the 1984 Winter Olympics, Sarajevo
was decimated in the 1990s Bosnian War.  The bobsled and luge
track, above, is bullet riddled and has been taken over by graffiti
artists and skateboarders.

The podium where Olympians once stood to receive their medals
in the Sarajevo games was used as an execution site during the war.
You can still see part of the Olympic rings and the many bullet holes.

The welcome sign is the only reminder of the 1960 Olympic Winter games that were held in Squaw Valley, CA.

Right after the games were over most of the ski jumps were dismantled and the speed skating rink became a parking lot.

Fencing competitions for the 1948 Summer games in London
were held in the beautiful Wembley Palace of Engineering.
Sadly, the old building is now just used for warehouse storage.

The Nazi party ruled Germany when Berlin hosted the 1936
Olympic Summer games. The small dormitory halls  used to house
athletes, above, are all that remain of those notorious games.

It's only been 6 years since Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer game but
buildings such as the one that housed beach volleyball competitions,
above, have fallen into disrepair and await demolition.

But all is't bad news for Olympic venues.  Remember when America
swimmer Michael Phelps earned 8 gold medals at the Beijing Water Cube?

It was successfully repurposed into an amazing water park:

Frankly, it's surprising that so many pieces of Olympic
memorabilia haven't been nabbed acquired by collectors and tourists.

Here's a tip for future Olympic host countries:  if you're not going to use the buildings and embellishments after the games are over, put them on eBay.  You might make enough to put a tiny debt in your Olympic debt.


  1. This is a fascinating post. Very sad too but so interesting. You would think that the host cities would use the facilities to lure and breed future olympians! Oh well. Thanks for posting it.

  2. This post does show what a throw away society the world has become. It is a shame so much money goes into trying to impress the world for a couple weeks, then just abandon everything once the games are over. Shame on the people of the world to let this happen!

  3. A friend of mine is writing her dissertation on this at the moment. There are guidelines in place now which require cities hoping to bid to provide a full scheme proposal explaining not only their plans for the park and venues as they are used but their uses and developments in the future! Let's hope this makes a difference to the wasted efforts and money in the past. Its devastating to see. Especially the images of Sarajevo, those are very upsetting.

  4. Thank you for sharing this story. I didn't even think about what happens when the games end.
    Sad, but the more we know, the more we can do something about it. I like your answer to the problem, sell to collectors!

  5. Exactly what is going happen here after World Cup and posteriorly the Olimpic games ... as if we have money to spend since we have so many problems with education and health. This is a 'slap' of reality, too stupid people are!
    greetings from Brazil.

  6. what a shame on the entire world for wasting money when so many people need help through out the world just to survive and eat