Before and After: Abandoned Olympic Venues


Before and After: Abandoned Olympic Venues

A city spends billions of dollars building venues or facilities very quickly specifically for the big sporting event that happens every four years – the Olympic Games. This is the time when the world comes together for an event that lasts for two weeks to cheer on their fellow countrymen in the medal tally.

However, have you ever wondered what happens once the Olympic hype is over? What happens to the venues, facilities and athlete’s villages? Let’s go back in time and check out some of the venues that was once host to some of the greatest sporting events in the world.

An example would be the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. According to Reuters, Greece spent estimated 11 billion dollars on the games. Majority of the funds are used to build up Olympic-related venues such as the athletes village, a media centre, a canoe slalom centre and so forth. Reuters also reported that they went 97% over budget in the process. However, many of the mentioned venues were neglected ever since the games.

This picture reminds us of the superb atmosphere in Athens stadium back during the games.

Source: Jean-Philippe Ksiazek/Getty Images

The diving pool now looks eerie and abandoned (Source: Matt Cardy/Getty Images Europe)

Filthy water and trash remains in the unused pool (Source: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

Empty seats with thick layers of dust (Source: Kyodo News/Newscom)

Graveyard for barricades right outside the stadium? (Source: Oli Scarff/Getty Image)

This canoe slalom venue was estimated to have cost more than 6 billion dollars (Source: BJ Rudd/

It now looks like a wasteland overgrown by weeds (Source:

Fast forward to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics where estimated costs amounted to 44 billion dollars was incurred to host the event. The sporting venues that was once full of crowds filled with anticipation and excitement is now in an almost dead silence. Although it has only been less than 10 years since the games, the venues are barely recognizable.

BMX track from the Beijing Olympics, before and after (Source: josehermida/Twitter)

The beach volleyball stadium back in 2008 (Source: BJ Rudd/

The Beijing beach volleyball stadium, present day (Source: BJ Rudd/

The Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park during the Games (Source: Jason Lee/Reuters)

The Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park now – deserted and dried up (Source: Jason Lee/Reuters)
Going further back in time, the spookiest of all abandoned Olympic sites goes to the Sarajevo Winter Olympics back in 1984. The Olympic Sports Complex has now partially been converted into a graveyard as the city suffered the longest siege in the history of modern warfare from year 1992 to 1996.

Source: Michael J. Haggerty/Getty Images

The Mount Igmans ski jump in 1984 (Source: Rudd)

The creepy venue today (Source:

The judges’ stand now look like a scene from a horror film (Source:

The steps leading to nowhere? (Source:

However, people are most angered by the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as it has won the title of the most expensive Olympic Games in history with an estimation of 51 billion dollars spent, surpassing Beijing’s 44 billion dollar Olympic cost. Only 6 months after the games, the venues have turned into ghost towns.

The grand opening ceremony for the Sochi Games 2 years ago (Source: Reuters)

The roof of Sochi’s Fisht Stadium has been partially disassembled, after only being used twice (Source:

There are run-down roads with major potholes (Source: Alexander Valov/

Some constructions were never completed (Source: Alexander Valov/

Dozens of hotels remain empty (Source: Alexander Valov/
The Olympics is where dreams come alive and is supposed to stimulate growth and development. Many Olympic hosts who have allowed their venues to fall into despair after the Games are said to have a total waste of resources. As discussed in our previous article regarding some of the ‘less-than-desired’ facilities at the Rio Athletes Village (read more here:, people are waiting to see whether Rio will be added into the Abandoned Olympic Venues hall of fame.


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