What abandoned Olympic venues from around the world look like today


There’s an interesting but also depressing article with pictures from Business Insider, “What abandoned Olympic venues from around the world look like today”. Many of the past Olympic venues which cost billions to build are now dilapidated, rusted, unused, covered with graffiti and overgrown with weeds:

Cities around the world are starting to question if hosting the Olympics is worth it.

Most cities simply do not have the infrastructure required to withstand the two-week influx of athletes, coaches, fans, and media members. The money required to build state-of-the-art athletic facilities is skyrocketing, and academic research suggests spending billions on a two-week event is not a wise investment.

In the worst-case scenario for host cities, Olympic venues go unused after the games and become white elephants — total wastes of space and money. We’ve seen this at a number of different Olympic sites around the world.



Yeah the more elaborate and expensive the games keep getting, the more it’s becoming obvious we need a couple of permanent locations that host the games every 8-12 years and just hold them in permanent venues that will be used more than once. Rather than the current system of bilking a country for every dime they can and then leaving them holding the bill and a bunch of venues they have no use for. I mean for the most recently awarded winter games they gave them to Beijing, despite it not having much if any snow in winter, simply because they were the only ones who provided a viable bid. Rio is not going to do anything to dissuade this growing realization that the Olympic games are a boondoggle not worth wasting time and money on.


Not only that, but a whole suburb of Rio was torn down and more than 60,000 people lost their homes to make way for the Olympic park.


Ugh, I didn’t hear about that. Probably because I’ve been ignoring the Olympics as much as possible. What a bore it all is. Kick the poor people out so the rich can get all teary eyed watching adults play with toys.


Well the protests by those people are also not being widely reported. Everyone loves to feed into the IOC’s propaganda machine and ignore the fact that the locals are anything but pleased to have been evicted and their country voluntarily robbed.

Of course you don’t see wide reporting of the 2 shootings outside Olympic venues on Friday, nor the kayak that sank during competition because it ran into a sofa under the water either… The media love to feed into the Olympic illusion.


I’m definitely in favor of a couple permanent locations. There’s a question of how they would be funded, but that would be a significantly better way to handle it than all of this pointless waste.


That stray dog really gets around.


Heck if they chose the right locations nothing would really need to be funded. I think the next US bid in LA has upwards of 95% of the venues already in place. The Olympians simply need to show up and the show can begin. And I’m sure that’s not the only worldwide location that is similarly situated.


I expect they would be self sustaining if they were used cyclically, maybe every 16 yrs. With multi-purpose in mind, the facilities and housing would be great destination locations for conferences and events.

Sarajevo and Greece are not very representative samples. Most of the photos are of war ravaged Sarajevo, where the whole country is looking equally bad. I also would expect fringe sports venues to be re-purposed post Olympics.


Lake Placid, New York.

Winter Olympics AND a ski resort.


Squaw Valley is the same way. As is Vancouver, BC. The Olympics can be done right, but the most recent ones in too many cases have not been. Athens, Beijing, Sochi, Rio, arguably even Atlanta given the Olympic Stadium itself is already slated for demolition 20 years later… all wasteful.


What terrible wastes of resources…


In regards to Atlanta, that was really more about the Atlanta Braves and not the failure of the Atlanta Olympics.

They built the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta with some temporary parts, so it could be reconfigured into a new baseball stadium. But the Braves do not own the stadium. The Braves got a new stadium in 1996 pretty cheap due to the Olympics, but now they want to own their stadium so they can receive lots of benefits that other teams who own their stadiums get.

Because the Braves are only renting Turner Field, they want the city to pay for all the major upkeep. The city doesn’t want to do that.

So the Braves are going to move out of the city, receive money from Cobb County to move there and put team money into a new stadium that they will own.


So this is really more about MLB teams moving to a model of owning their own stadiums vs leasing them from their cities.


Also, a lot of these cities had national money to help them and were hoping to use these infrastructure updates to help their city attract investors.

But it didn’t really work.

London on the other hand used many existing and temporary structures (at least one temporary structure from London will be used in Rio too).

The olympics can be done right, by investing investing in public works projects more and utilizing existing or temporary sporting venues.

That’s something that most of the American olympics have been able to do. Find a post olympic use for the new permanent facilities.

No one says you have a to create a permanent stadium for the Olympic Stadium. It can be a temporary structure, it doesn’t have to be the Birdcage built for Beijing. It can also be a Soccer / Football stadium like the one being used in Rio, doesn’t have to be the track & field stadium.

And the Olympic Village can be built in an area like it was in London, that was mostly abandoned. People don’t have to be kicked out of their homes.

In my opinion, the biggest “criminals” here is not the International Olympic Committees, but the national committees who are more worried about international reputation of putting on a good show than they are about doing what’s smart.

For example, a city like Philadelphia would be a perfect choice for a US bid because Philly would not have to build many facilities. They could also create a temporary Olympic Stadium for the opening/closing ceremonies and olympic village at the old Navy Shipyard to help the the transfiguration of that area. Philly would be able to invest more money in upgrading the public transportation system and other infrastructure projects vs sports facilities. And at the same time, the few sports facilities upgrades/additions needed (like swimming/diving complex and track & field) could be done by upgrading historic Franklin Field (University of Penn’s stadium) and building a new swimming/diving complex for UPENN and/or one to be shared between UPENN & Drexel University.

But the USOC is not likely to select a city like Philadelphia because they will want a “sexy” city that people from around the world want to visit, like LA, Chicago, NYC, etc. However, the irony is that LA, Chicago, NYC will continue to lose to underdog cities like Rio.

It seems like the IOC like to rotate between underdog cities and sure things like London & Tokyo. But unlike London & Tokyo, LA, Chicago & NYC are not automatic “sure things” because the US govt doesn’t help fun the Olympic games like other national govts.

Anyway… point is, I strongly believe the olympics can be done right if national committees choose good candidates.

God Bless


Should be interesting to see how LA plans to ‘cover up’ the bad parts of town when the games come there, I know when they were held in China, they actually constructed brick walls so no one could see them, Im guessing LA has a plan for this, but I cannot see many americans that live in these areas just sit down and accept being covered up.


They likely wouldn’t cover anything up. They might do some city wide clean up of grafitti and the like, but I seriously doubt any effort to cover up whole neighborhoods or anything like that would occur. LA isn’t particularly bad to look at even on a bad day. Remember it is one of the top tourist towns in the world.


I do not think the IOC can be reformed. There simply is no solution that will stand against the power of the money that changes hands and lines the pockets. Ideally, every site should already have most of the venues already in place, and an exit strategy to re-purpose all new structures. This will never happen as only a few places could host the games, and the IOC officials would not have the same ability to bilk dollars to influence the selection.


After looking at what they spend on Olympic venues, I’m glad Coloradans rejected funding the 12th Winter Olympics. Now if they would stop trying for the 2026 olympics, but too many Californians here now to do the sensible thing.:whistle:

The problem of just rotating through every 12 to 16 years is who does the upkeep on the buildings between games? I guess the national Olympic commitees could own them and simply rent them out. It does discount the fact that stadiums generally only have a 30-35 year life span so they would need major upgrades or replacements every 3 or 4 games hosted.

Not saying it couldn’t be done, but I don’t think it would be a one and done deal. Any major venue has upkeep costs and someone would have to be willing to bear those costs. I don’t think you will be renting out the luge track to recoup the maintenance costs.


Actually California is on the forefront of rejecting public funding for sporting venues. So if you have had a big influx of Californians that will likely help your reject the Olympics cause, not hurt it.


Especially if you aren’t planning a 12 yr cycle, many venues should be planned and built as temporary. Just reusing the big locations or the terrain would save lots of money. Even a luge track would need to be modified so the home team didn’t have too much of an advantage.

I expect this is all too practical though as people want to innovate and the big cities would be jealous of the one who got the location permanently.

Picking Greece as the summer home might be the only easy answer. Repeating every four years would give a much better ROI, and they are the original home.

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